RARA-AVIS: The Thirties

From: Robison Michael R CNIN ( Robison_M@crane.navy.mil)
Date: 18 Nov 2002

Bludis Jack wrote: What a great decade the 30s were for hardboiled and noir.

****** I agree, Jack. The decade started off with MALTESE FALCON, and ended with THE BIG SLEEP, with a bunch of great stuff inbetween. Looking at the Modern Library's list of the best novels, TOBACCO ROAD, THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, THE DAY OF THE LOCUST, APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA, THE U.S.A. TRILOGY, LIGHT IN AUGUST, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, THE STUDS LONIGAN TRILOGY, and MALTESE FALCON made the grade, and they are all from the 30s. That is an incredible number of hardboiled novels on a mainstream list like this. My guess is that there are not this many hardboiled books on the list for all the other decades combined.

It appears to me that perhaps in the 30s hardboiled came as close to mainstream as it ever has, and that this was a positive effect on the genre. As opposed to the limited and almost cult following of the 20s, a wider interest in the 30s stimulated the genre, rather than diluting it.


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