RARA-AVIS: Re: Slanguage

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 27 Jun 2003

Mat wrote in response to my post about slang:

>True, of course, but i think the thrust of the fred was that some hb writers
>overuse (and perhaps create) slang to such an extent that it isn't/wasn't
>smooth reading even on the day it was published - I can't know, of
>course, but I
>suspect this is the case with some passages in Harvest, where it seems very
>close to parody or perhaps self-parody. Or just a guy with a deadline.

But in that same post I had already stated that "Of course, like anything a writer uses in forging his own style (violence, sex, pop culture references, political opinions, brand names, technical data, whatever), slang can be over-used, but in the right hands any of these can add considerable weight and texture to a book."

It's been a while since I've re-read RED HARVEST, and maybe Hammett does overdo it, but I stand by my original contention that a narrator in hard-boiled fiction should, as Chandler put it, "talk as the man of his age talks."

Like, fred?


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