Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Cain Line

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 08 Dec 2004

----- Original Message ----- From: "Dave Zeltserman" <>

> Also, that when Thompson taught a college creative writing course,
> Double Indemnity was on the reading list (didn't know that gem -
> thanks Al!)

On Thompson's 'eclectic' reading list were: Hemingway's A FAREWELL TO ARMS, Cain's DOUBLE INDEMNITY, a Willa Cather story called 'Coming, Aphrodite', Robinson Jeffers' poetry, William Carlos Williams' poems, short stories and IN THE AMERICAN GRAIN, and Howard Hunt's STRANGER IN TOWN.

Just re-reading that section of Polito's SAVAGE ART (P321, Serpent's Tail) and it also contains this very interesting comment from one of his pupils:
'He was big on getting a lot of stuff into a paragraph. He was Hemingwayesque in the sense of everything being cold, hard, and clean -- tight writing. And he emphasized art through dialogue. But he wanted us to pack as much into our paragraphs as possible, without going into unnecessary description. 'You don't have to describe the furniture,' he'd say. Jim was against 'over-furnished rooms' -- a phrase he picked up from Willa Cather.'


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 08 Dec 2004 EST