Re: RARA-AVIS: The definition of classics

From: Patrick King (
Date: 05 Nov 2007

--- William Ahearn <> wrote:

 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 . . .
***************************************************** As to Fleming creating a genre, I think he owed a great deal to Sax Rohmer and Edgar Wallace, not to mention Raymond Chandler to whom he acknowledged inspiration. Fleming certainly created an icon.

We're in complete agreement concerning Greene's writing chops, but I do think he and Fleming were attempting to do the same thing. Maybe Greene took himself a little more seriously as a writer.
 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?
*************************************************** I wouldn't say that BLEAK HOUSE is, strictly speaking, a detective story, even though Mr. Bucket is the first detective to play an important role in a novel. So I can imagine a novel that has a spy in a major role but is not essentially espionage genre. But THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD & GOLDFINGER? Absolutely, they're examples of the same genre. THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD is perhaps more intelligently conceived than GOLDFINGER in terms of complexity and plot, while GOLDFINGER may be more enjoyable for many readers. But the two books do the same thing: they tell an exciting story about international crime and the people who try to subvert it. The stories are both romantic. Neither tries to document historic events or do more than entertain. The real difference is tone. LeCarre tends to be downbeat, Fleming upbeat.

Patrick King

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