Re: RARA-AVIS: Archer/Ross Macdonald

From: Jacques Debierue (
Date: 21 Aug 2007

--- In, "Stephen Burridge"
<stephen.burridge@...> wrote:
> Macdonald's way with similes can seem forced and excessive at times.
> I believe this is a common criticism.

Perhaps, but reading older literature requires an adjustment. And there is no real positive evolution of style but something different: changes in discourse, different mechanisms of mediation between the written word and what goes on in the head of the reader, changes in the perception of time, etc. You could say that Shakespeare's metaphors and jokes seem forced at times, you could say that he is wordy, etc. You could say that Dickens should have used the scissors instead of pouring on so much stuff into any one novel. You could say all that but their works wouldn't change.

What I'm aiming at is that any writer needs the sympathy of the reader. Bad writers don't do a very good job of getting such sympathy, but the good ones usually do. Which is why Shakespeare can hook you, and why Ross Macdonald can hook you. If you choose to look at the carpentry of his writing, you could end up with a nice paper, but that's several steps removed from the experience of reading.



This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 21 Aug 2007 EDT