Re: RARA-AVIS: European valuations of genre fiction

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 01 Feb 2004

Hi Mark and David-

> From: "David Moran" <>
> >
> > "The Lady in the Lake" is indeed my favorite Chandler, though.
> > I think that one still holds up quite well.
> Hmm. Though I disagree (obviously) with David's overall valuation of
> Chandler's literary worth, I thought I'd put in my two cents regarding his
> best novels.
> My favorites, in order:
> 1. The Long Goodbye
> 2. The Big Sleep
> 3. Farewell, My Lovely
> 4. The Lady in the Lake
> The other three are fun reading, but I'd not submit them as evidence that
> the genre can rise to the level of literture, whatever that means. I've
> taught the first two several times (in undergraduate courses). Nearly
> student comes away a fan.

As long as we're talking about writers who elevated Crime fiction to the level of literature, I have to agree on Chandler's better stuff as an obvious choice, and would also advance the notion that Hammett's better stuff is too. "The Glass Key" deals as much with class, society, and early 20th century machine politics in early 20th century America every bit as effectively as anything either Dos Passos or Lewis wrote, and "The Thin Man" is pretty much an early 20th century comedy of manners. Of course, "The Maltese Falcon" is "The Maltese Falcon."

All the Best-

Brian Thornton

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