Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Book review in Journal of Social History

Date: 10 Apr 2004


Re your comment below:

> Just because Parker is not "a paragon of moral
> virtue" does not mean
> that the series does not deal with moral choices. A
> lot of "does not"s
> in that sentence, but can't the bounds of morality
> be explored by
> looking at someone who lives outside them?

Parker doesn't amke moral choices because he never considers the moral ramifications of any actions he takes. His only concern is how any decision he makes will benefit him.

In any case, Bill said that what distinguished hard-boiled from the other pulp genres was that hard-boiled more concerned with morality. I don't think that's inherently more true of hard-boiled crime fiction that it is of, say, the western or the swashbuckler or the military/war story. Or even, for that matter, the cozy or traditional mystery.

To take to examples from Sherlock Holmes, Holmes lets a criminal go in "The Blue Carbuncle" because he thinks justice will be better served than by turning him over. He lets a murderer go in "Charles Augustus Milverton" because he thinks that the victim deserved his fate. We might disagree with Holmes's choices. We might even regard them as immoral. But he, unlike Parker, DOES consider the moral ramifications of his actions. And Holmes is as much "NOT hard-boiled" as Parker IS hard-boiled.

It doesn't come down to moral choices. At the risk of repeating myself one more time, it comes down to toughness and a colloquial style.


__________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Tax Center - File online by April 15th

# Plain ASCII text only, please.  Anything else won't show up.
# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 10 Apr 2004 EDT