Re: RARA-AVIS: European valuations of genre fiction

From: Marc Seals (
Date: 31 Jan 2004

> Marc, interesting comments on Brit professors on Chandler.
> Were they equally inclusive of British crime writers?

No, they were not.... Hmm. I had not thought of that. Perhaps they partially
(or secretly) agreed with playwright and critic W. H. Auden, a self-admitted addict of detective stories, who wrote in his essay on detective fiction,
"The Guilty Vicarage," that detective stories "have nothing to do with works of art." Auden excused Chandler from this condemnation by asserting that Chandler does not write detective stories at all, but rather "serious stories of a criminal milieu" that should be read and judged, not as escape literature, but as works of art." It seems a bit too convenient to reject detective literature as art, as Auden does, while at the same time removing the most respected mystery writers from the genre entirely.


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