Re: Re : RARA-AVIS: Political thrillers - Mandel

From: jacquesdebierue (
Date: 24 Aug 2008

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    --- In, "E. Borgers" <webeurop@...> wrote:
    > As I'm never sure if my messages reach the List, I'll be short.
    > The books by Mandel on crime ficition are rather well known.
    > I've read two of them (long ago - in French ) and I was far from
    convinced. Besides interesting ideas about "class" literature, I had the feeling Mandel did not know very well the scope and large field of the crime ficition and their authors.

    Too many generalist literary critics, even excellent ones like Todorov and Franco Moretti, seem to have a very narrow idea of what the
    "mystery genre" is. They mainly treat it as a puzzle type of story, thus missing the entire hardboiled genre, in fact missing most American crime writing, which is not of the puzzle type. I think a more specialized type of critic is necessary. The generalists tack on
    "mysteries" as a minor genre, as opposed to the most successful genre of the past century, and probably of this century, too.

    This is like talking about American music and giving jazz a little quaint corner. The gaping hole is too obvious. Perhaps students of comparative literature and of "English" are satisfied with the token inclusion of puzzle type mysteries, but surely it does not tie in with the actual genre.

    Sayers and Christie are essentially irrelevant today, whereas both the Hammett-Chandler tradition and the Thompson, Goodis, Woolrich et al are more relevant than ever. In the case of the noir guys, their work taps directly into the fearful people that we have become. Just like Franz Kafka is more relevant than John Galsworthy...



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