Re: RARA-AVIS: The Marlowe Paradigm

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 07 Dec 2002

----- Original Message ----- From: "Anthony Dauer" <>

> I fail to see why being influenced by an author would be detectable in
> their writing.

You're right. For all I know Wade Miller's "Deadly Weapon" was influenced by Jane Austen. Reads more like "The Maltese Falcon", though.

>Being influenced doesn't equate to copying that author.

Did anybody say it did?

> Reading Chandler and then writing your own detective fiction is being
> influenced by ... hell, reading Chandler and hating him and then writing
> your own story because you know you can do better is still amounts to
> having been influenced by Chandler.

Perhaps Pelecanos's "Hell To Pay" is inspired by a Barbara Cartland romance novel he didn't like.

>There's nothing disturbing in that
> that I can see.

Well, reading Chandler is one thing. Had you read my post carefully you'd have seen that what I found disturbing was the influence he had on PI writers who hadn't read him, as posited, thus, by Jack Bludis:
"Any PI writer not influenced by Chandler never read him, but was probably influenced by imitators."

>Authors are influenced by everyone they read

Not true. I was completely unaffected by a very poorly written book I read aloud to my four year old niece. You may find that hard to believe, but I'm not lying. Honestly. Many other books I've read recently have been just as unmemorable. Seriously, I suspect that very few writers are influential, in any measurable sense, on authors who have confidence in their own voice.

> but that
> doesn't amount to copying them or that anyone is likely to know from
> reading them just who the author has read unless it's the author's bio
> they're reading.

You've lost me. Who mentioned copying?


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