Woolrich and Whitfield, was Re: RARA-AVIS: Fright & Savage Bride

From: harry.lerner@mail.mcgill.ca
Date: 07 Feb 2008

Just to clarify...by 'over the top prose' I mean that in GREEN ICE Whitfield's writing is very hard-boiled, even occasionally becoming borderline self-parody. In FRIGHT Woolrich seems to write in a very ornately formal way. His descriptions of Press's intended, Marjorie, are almost poetic or at least the noir equivalent of poetic. This is a marked contrast to the more traditional noir economy of word use. Thus, both Woolrich and Whitfield, in these novels at least, adopted what I am describing as a kind of 'over the top' style, albeit in very different ways.

My question is did either author intend for these stories to turn out this way or were they merely the results of different kinds of literary experimentation?

Any insight on either author would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks! Harry

Quoting harry.lerner@mail.mcgill.ca:

> I just started FRIGHT and among my first reactions was that it, at
> least so far, reads very much like a lot of the pulp stories that came
> out in the 1920s and 1930s. In particular, as I was reading the first
> few chapters of FRIGHT I found myself thinking back a few years to when
> I read Raoul Whitfield's GREEN ICE that originally came out in
> serialized form in BLACK MASK. What made the connection for me was the
> almost, but not quite, over the top prose that both authors apparently
> had a tendency to use, at least in these two stories. Even though they
> sometimes flirt, perhaps inadvertently, with self-parody, they managed
> to largely get away with pushing the envelope (in the above cases
> anyway). What I would be curious to know is, for either Woolrich or
> Whitfield, if this was intentional or merely a fortuitous turn of
> events that resulted from different forms of experimentation.
> Best,
> Harry

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