In this final chapter, I shall not be attempting to do justice to the American hardboiled school. To confine the book within manageable bounds I shall instead emphasise the impact of the hardboiled on various kinds of recent British writing. To justify this procedure, I would point to the debatable emphasis on ‘national’ characteristics which tends to come into play over this issue in many studies. In Dennis Porter’s The Pursuit of Crime, for instance, a somewhat complacent contrasting of English snobbery with American individualism hardly scratches the surface of the heavyweight European Marxist theory (Gramsci, Benjamin, Althusser, Foucault) adduced to demonstrate the impact of social factors on literary forms.1 There are indeed reasons why it was America that produced the hardboiled mode, but once produced it provided a vocabulary for the expression of a wide range of concerns in many Western societies including the British.
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