RARA-AVIS: Inner demons

From: Michael Robison ( miker_zspider@yahoo.com)
Date: 03 Nov 2007

Patrick King wrote:

But seriously, Spillane is escapist literature. Mike Hammer does the things we can't do and we live for a couple of hours vicariously in a world where we do what we want and can't lose. I think the modern
"hard-boiled" genre suffers because most modern writers lose sight of this. Robert B. Parker's detectives are all in AA. Who wants a hero who's trying to work through his problems? That's not what this type of story is about.

***************** All literature, including the classics, can be called escapist. Beowulf and Gilgamesh, The Iliad and Odyssey, Le Morte de Arthur, and nearly all of Shakespeare. They take you away to somewhere else for a while. It takes a little thought to wrap their messages back to the reader's life.

As far as who wants a hero who is working through his problems, I'd say that's just about everyone. The theme of the tough guy fighting both the world and his inner demons goes back to Gilgamesh, but I see Hemingway as setting the standard for contemporary writing, with The Sun Also Rises as the cornerstone. These inner demons are at least one of the elements that separates Hammett's Con Op from Chandler's Marlowe.


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