RARA-AVIS: "Feminine Detectives and the Challenge of Hardboiledness"

From: Jay Gertzman ( jgertzma@earthlink.net)
Date: 31 Jul 2003

Seeing Emck's "Feminine Detectives and the Challenge of Hardboiledness"
  listed in the
  _Dictionary of Literary Biography's_ volume on the crime novel (#226), I
  got a copy. This article, written in opaque academic jargon, states that the female noir or hard boiled writer must replace the hard edged rationality of the male PI with the compassionate, sympathetic behavior of the female, a world view which has been suppressed through the ages by "the patriarchy." The writer assumes (IMO begs the question) that the male in a patriarchal society cannot consider females as equal to himself, however much he may respect their abilities. He automatically sees them as "other," and his desire for them is an unhealthily repressive force.
  Because of this patriarchal silencing and denigration of women, the male
  PI or protagonist cannot but find women either dangerous or inconsequential. All this is "proven" by references to novels of Paretsky, and by some
  mention of the classic PI writers. No mention, of course, of the strong
  and, to the PI, admirable females in Chandler, Hammett, Goodis, Cain, McCoy. No inkling that male protagonists speak of their rejection of long affairs or marriage as a necessary but both compulsive and limiting aspect of their psyche.
      I have no wish to start up again the discussion of the noir crime novel's approach to women. My question is simply, can the genre be
  considered to subordinate a compassionate, community centered female solution
 to a stoic, aggressive response of the male hero who must act alone,
  outside the law, and in isolation from females, even those he admires?

# Plain ASCII text only, please.  Anything else won't show up.
# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# majordomo@icomm.ca.  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 31 Jul 2003 EDT