RARA-AVIS: academic questions

From: Jay Gertzman ( jgertzma@earthlink.net)
Date: 05 Aug 2003

I agree with those who commented negatively on the article on female hardboiledness I summarized. It had all the earmarks of "theory drunk" academic criticism: jargon, lack of documentation, moral indignation, assumptions taken as true but not researched or proved. But here's something that is not "crap" about the classic crime novels of the 30s: Male protagonists prefer a world where women do not influence their moral choices or restrain their subversive sense of justice. PIs like Archer, Marlowe, and Spade are very aware of who they are and what they stand for. They accept their isolation, and like singleness as much as they like going to bed with, taking to, and enjoying the company of women. It's a very important question. Two books, both from the late 40s or 50s, state the implications beautifully: Gershon Legman's _Love and Death, A Study in Censorship_ and Leslie Fiedler's _Love and Death in the American Novel_.

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