RARA-AVIS: Megan Abbott's family tree

From: Juri Nummelin ( juri.nummelin@pp.inet.fi)
Date: 06 Feb 2006

I think it's interesting, but fails at some points. I don't think Dos Passos and Dreiser had much to do with the hardboiled novel - I'd nominate some other proletariat writers, such as Michael Gold


> Also, are Goodis and Willeford's heroes really
> psychotic?

One might say that about some of Willeford's heroes (just think of the stomach punching scene in THE WOMAN CHASER), but not about Goodis's. She also makes the rather odd connection between Spillane and Willeford and Goodis - what do they have in common? It's also odd that in her system only Cooper represents the Western hero - later Western books surely have much more in common with the hardboiled novel. Cooper doesn't yet have the idea of the lone hero, he emerges later.

I should put the lines of "Rise of the paperback" and "Crime novels/thrillers" under the same label (or whatever), since I think most of the fifties' paperbacks could be included in the line that stems from James M. Cain. Dorothy Hughes does have psychotic heroes, why isn't she in with Willeford and Goodis?

> I am very curious about her definition of hardboiled and
> noir (but aren't we all, always, endlessly).

Her selections of contemporary noir novel are not very interesting. And her seventies could and should have lots of other folks, too, such as Arthur Lyons, Marcia Muller, Roger L. Simon, etc. It seems now that only Crumley kept the hardboiled genre alive. (I know that it's not necessary to include all of these in the same paper, but the omissions make it seem strange.)

But all in all nice to know someone else is thinking about these matters, and not just us.

Juri http://pulpetti.blogspot.com

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