Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Ellroy & His "Hard Read"

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 13 Jul 2004

At 08:33 AM 13/07/2004 -0700, you wrote:
>So whatever Ellroy does (or doesn't do) for you, rest assured it's not
>some spontaneous literary style bursting out of nowhere, the result of
>unfettered genius, but a carefully worked out, studied and deliberate
>style, a lengthy and extensive process that requires a lot of reworking
>and laboring over the manuscript from both the author and the editor.
>Doesn't exactly play into the literary enfant terrible mythos, does it?

It does to me. I never equated Ellroy's style with some spontaneous, free-form, stream of consciousness. The language in both White Jazz and L.A. Confidential are derived from other forms. That requires work and study. If he makes it look easy, that's only a measure of skill. It doesn't rule out genius, nor does it rule it in, but it is (or was) a gutsy form of rebellion from "literary" language standards, a big push down the path of colloquial. Hell, we might even say it goes beyond colloquial, into the origins of popular, style-forming language. I can well understand why this would both stimulate and alarm an editor. It certainly seems to have done the same to many people on Rara Avis, and elsewhere, or we wouldn't still be discussing it.

Best Kerry

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