The Hardboiled Heritage

  • Martin Priestman


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.


Black Worker Popular Song Schematic Story Sexual Disgust Private Plot 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 7.
    Compare Knight, Form and Ideology ch. 5, with his essay ‘A Hard Cheerfulness’, in Brian Docherty (ed.), American Crime Fiction: Studies in the Genre (London, 1988) pp. 71–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 8.
    See Ross Macdonald, ‘The Writer as Detective Hero’ (1973), in Winks, pp. 179–87.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martin Priestman 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Priestman
    • 1
  1. 1.Roehampton Institute of Higher EducationUK

Personalised recommendations