From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 11 Apr 2005

> Not far from noir mystery ladies, there is a study made by Catherine A.
> Thompson :
> This is the text of her thesis to obtain her Master of Arts degree at
> the University od New Brunswick (Canada) in 1997.
> You may download the full text at my Web site : HARD-BOILED MYSTERIES
> Go to http://www.geocities.com/Athens/6384
> and select the chapter : Women in HB literature

There are some interesting and even provocative points she raises, but sometimes you just have to wonder. While it's well-written and often seems impeccably researched, other times you just have to roll your eyes. My favourite part was this:

In discussing Kinsey Millhone's carrying of a gun in her purse, Thompson concludes that "The gun can then be seen as a 'clitoral' symbol, rather than a phallic one: it is a "little automatic" carried inside the labial briefcase and owned and operated by a woman. Millhone is not Philip Marlowe in drag, carrying a gun to make up for her "lost" penis: she is a woman and proud of it. "

Doncha just love academics?

And here's a little clue to where the author's coming from:

> I exclude contemporary male writers of hard-boiled detective fiction
> from this study on the basis that they continue to support the
> patriarchal ideals espoused by the originators of the genre in their
> own work, despite their attempts to "liberalize" the genre.

Isn't that generous of her?

She also excludes demonstrating any consistent first-hand knowledge of the genre's history, beyond what she's apparently picked up from secondary sources, conveniently ignoring hard-boiled women writers and hard-boiled women detectives (who may or may not have been created by women) of the past who preceded Muller, and therefore don't fit her theory.

And you just have to giggle at the notion that "(Agatha) Christie was... the first to create a female detective in... 1930."

The mind boggles.

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site 75 Years of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon http://www.thrillingdetective.com

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 11 Apr 2005 EDT