Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Political Thrillers

From: Steve Novak (
Date: 23 Aug 2008

  • Next message: E. Borgers: "Re : RARA-AVIS: Political thrillers - Mandel"

    Excellent...I support totally...

    Numerous writers and critics of the so-called ³néo-polar² wave in France referred to crime stories along those lines...


    On 8/23/08 4:55 PM, "jacquesdebierue" <> wrote:

    > --- In <> ,
    > Tim Wohlforth <timwohlforth@...>
    > wrote:
    > There are references in the book to hundreds of
    >> > novels and writers. Much of the analysis is tendentious and labored,
    >> > yet his effort to see the evolution of the crime novel within the
    >> > context of the changes in society as a whole, is a worthy one.
    >> >
    >> > For example, he sees the classic detective story of Agatha Christie,
    >> > Sayers, etc., as reflecting "the triumphant rentier ruling class of
    >> > the pre- and post-1914 period in the Anglo-Saxon countries" resulting
    >> > in treating crime as "schematic, conventional and artificial." A
    >> > retreat "from the streets into the drawing room." He did not like
    >> > "serie noire" which he identifies with Spillane. He saw the
    >> > "violence, brutality, cruelty, sadism" in such novels as a reflection
    >> > of a sick society: they were phenomena of social decomposition."
    >> >
    >> > He concludes "The history of the crime story is a social history, for
    >> > it appears intertwined with the history of bourgeois society itself.
    >> > And finally "perhaps...bourgeois society is, when all its said and
    >> > done a criminal society." Mandel, whose book Late Capitalism created
    >> > quite a sensation in the days of the New Left, passed away in 1995.
    > A very worthy writer, although his style is labored. He touches upoon
    > a lot of relevant stuff. To me, it's clear that the genre we love so
    > much is completely intertwined with bourgeois society. Some of the
    > authors, notably Chandler, were acutely aware of this even as they
    > were writing their stories and novels. What is Chandler if not a
    > social critic of the society in Southern California? Hammett does not
    > come out so explicitly, but it's there. Today, you find the same
    > critical spirit in Pelecanos, Mosley, Connelly and countless other
    > authors.
    > Perhaps the question would be, more properly, which hardboiled or noir
    > writer today is NOT acutely aware of the crisis and of what is going
    > on in society? I cannot name a single one among those I read. It seems
    > to me that good American literature post-Twain rarely falls into
    > innocent escapism. Those pulp stories are loaded with dead accurate
    > social observations. And American humorists are notoriously scathing
    > as social critics. So it all fits.
    > Best
    > mrt

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