Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Noir

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 13 Feb 2003

Sidney wrote:

"But I rather think they were written after by authors who had graduated from the ranks of freelance writers who started by cranking out hardboiled tales for Black Mask and similar pulp magazines of the era. After practice borne of a few million words written against deadlines to put bread on the table, a certain style could eveolve, enabling some of the best to evolve as writers of novels with a more serious intent."

Aren't we playing chicken or egg here? "Black Mask and similar pulp magazines" published a certain kind of story. In order to be published there, these authors had to conform to the guidelines and demands of those magazines. By concentrating much or most (depending upon the particular writer) of their output in that particular segment of the pulp market, they were choosing to work within a specific style which would become genre. I think that simple choice of market shows a consciousness of the specific boundaries of that evolving genre. It doesn't really matter if they saw themslves as artists or craftsmen, they saw themselves as making a particular type of product. And how could they not see it as different from other pre-existing genres?


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