Re: RARA-AVIS: The definition of classics

From: William Ahearn (
Date: 05 Nov 2007

--- Patrick King <> wrote:

> So what you're saying, William, is that if you write
> anything other than genre, the work you write in
> genre
> cannot be compared to other genre writers?

Whoa. Nobody made any distinctions or separations of works or splitting of collections. Even so, I think Fleming wrote -- maybe even created -- a genre and I think that Graham Greene whoops his ass every day in terms of talent and vision. That's just my opinion and not the laws of the unmutable universe. Soon . . .

> THE THIRD MAN is as good a noir novel as anyone ever
> wrote.

That would depend on how you define noir. I love the Third Man but don't see it as a noir. That's just me and it's been well established here that I have a different view of noir (especially in film) than the majority on this list.

Are you saying it doesn't count because
> Fleming, Spillane, Clancy & Cussler are not as
> talented at writing as Green is? Do thriller writers
> get a handicap? Green and, yes, Somerset Maugham
> too,
> wrote great genre work. How can you dismiss it or
> remove them from the discussion because they also
> wrote "serious" stuff?
I'm not dismissing anything Greene -- or Maugham -- wrote. And yes, thriller writers do have a handicap if books evolving into literature is the topic. Joe Conrad's The Secret Agent was written a hundred years ago and it still kicks butt. Because it isn't *only* a thriller. Where did I dismiss anyone? All I said, if I remember correctly, is that I don't think Greene and Fleming are in the same league and I still think that if you limit Greene only to his genre writings.
(Although I haven't bought that argument. You mean to say that every novel about a spy is espionage genre? Is that what you're saying? That The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and Goldfinger are the same genre?


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