Saturday, May 11, 2013

On another subject

I seem to have missed John Paul Athanasourelis's book Raymond Chandler' Philip Marlowe: The Hard-Boiled Detective Transformed and probably just as well. The argument that Marlowe is really a Deweyan radical democrat with a social conscience and one who pays a great deal of attention to his social conscience is so bizarre as to make one wonder what the author might have been smoking.

This review of the book is sheer delight (except for Mr Athanasourelis, naturally enough) and is by Stefano Tani, author of an interesting sounding book, The Doomed Detective, which I shall read. How can one possibly not try to read an author who can start a devastating review with the following paragraph:
There are at least four detectable stages in that specific genre named criticism of a novelist. The first is the one of the forerunner, the critic who discovers the forgotten author; in the second stage the author reassessed is studied and written about by a substantial number of scholars and journalists (very good, good and less than good contributions); if steps one and two work, the writer is canonized (edition in the most prestigious series of the country). At this point, everything on him has been truly said and done at least for a while, and here comes the fourth stage, the one of surreal criticism: the author is no longer the one studied so far, he is a figment of the critic's imagination – a critic who, in order “to open new paths,” invents a writer that never existed.
I wish I had written that.