Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V5 #33 - Hardboiled attitude.

From: Sidney Allinson (
Date: 22 Feb 2003

----- Original Message ----- From: "Mark Sullivan" <> To: <> Sent: Saturday, February 22, 2003 2:23 PM Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V5 #33 - Noir
> Okay, I know this is the party line of hardboiled. I've said it enough
> times myself. But I have to wonder if the cozy really is any more
> "artificial" than most hardboiled?

Yes, whatever the genre, writing for it is imitative to some degree, which could be said to be "artificial. Raymond Chandler certainly was one who consciously cobbled hardboiled stories together by matching the style of the pulp magazines he wrote for at the beginning of his career. Of a middle-class Chicago family, he was raised in England, where he recived a classical education at Dulwich private school, then returned to the States as a young man. He had none of the working-class upbringing that someone here suggested was a requirement for success as a hardboiled writer. However, Chandler did serve with the Canadian army in France, where he experienced first-hand the brutalities of trench warfare and killing up close. That would be more than enough to acquaint him with authentic hard-boiled attitudes. Nonetheless, when he lost his executive job and turned his hand to writing about tough-guy private eyes for the pulps, Chandler at first consciously imitated other writers of the genre. He used such tricks as writing out lists of gangster jargon words for inclusion in his stories. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. He was just learning craftsmanship and finding his own style, which evolved into his later novels.
-- Sidney.

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