RARA-AVIS: Re: Hardboiled genealogy

From: George Tuttle ( noirfiction@whoever.com)
Date: 06 Feb 2006

She does a great job in trying to make the word "genealogy" work. It could never be as easy as "Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob." As a sidenote, it seems to me that there should be some mention of Edgar Wallace, somewhere, as a pre-hardboiled influence, since he plays such a part in the concept of the thriller prior to the hardboiled era. Also, I would prefer to say, "Rise of the Paperback Original." Paperbacks from 1939-1949 were just a repackaging of other existing media (mostly hardcover, with some pulp and a little slick fiction tossed in). Of course, there is Spillane whose paperback reprints did do much to change the status quo, but that would put the year as 1948, not 1939. Also, are Goodis and Williford's heroes really psychotic? I am very curious about her definition of hardboiled and noir (but aren't we all, always, endlessly). That said, her genealogy is better than anything I could create. I liked it and applaud her for attempting it.

As for the syllabus, is anyone else uncomfortable with the use of films in a literature course or at lease in the choice of these particular films in a discussion of the shaping of the hardboiled genre?

George the Librarian

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