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“The Detective as Veteran: Recasting American Hard-Boiled Writing as a Literature of Traumatic War Experience”

Sarah Trott Orcid Logo

Men After War, Pages: 130 - 151

Swansea University Author: Sarah Trott Orcid Logo

Abstract

The effects of combat upon American hard-boiled fiction have not been seriously examined. Yet when examined in concert, the crime genre and ‘war’ genre are thematically and stylistically complementary; each wrestles with concepts of masculinity, disillusionment, and corruption. Within hard-boiled fi...

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Published in: Men After War
Published: Routledge 2013
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa16520
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last_indexed 2018-02-09T04:49:14Z
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spelling 2014-07-10T16:05:05.4429910 v2 16520 2013-12-06 “The Detective as Veteran: Recasting American Hard-Boiled Writing as a Literature of Traumatic War Experience” c57232d712939dcfdf1244f36fc3504c 0000-0002-7622-2289 Sarah Trott Sarah Trott true false 2013-12-06 The effects of combat upon American hard-boiled fiction have not been seriously examined. Yet when examined in concert, the crime genre and ‘war’ genre are thematically and stylistically complementary; each wrestles with concepts of masculinity, disillusionment, and corruption. Within hard-boiled fiction, American writers have attempted to expose a society ignorant of their characters’ traumas and focus their anger against a state that abandoned its soldiers upon their return from combat. Identifying with the embittered and similarly ‘lost’ generation of World War One, these writers incorporated a brutally explicit level of violence and seething underlying anger that marks a significant shift in the structure of American crime fiction. Their hard-boiled and war-traumatised protagonists, combined with their unforgiving social environments, produced a unique convergence of the war story and crime novel. Representing a distinctive form that can be dubbed a ‘war noir,’ writers in the twentieth century absorbed the anger, discontent, and brutality of both genres, which they used to attack an unsympathetic society and a corrupt state. In the process the hard-boiled style became a vehicle for communicating the disillusionment of authors, creating in the process a literature of traumatic war experience. The disillusionment and anguish stemming from war drove many to further the genre by highlighting the nation’s hypocrisy and the state’s corruption, resulting in a brutal but progressively realistic representation of the American social landscape. Book chapter Men After War 130 151 Routledge 6 3 2013 2013-03-06 COLLEGE NANME COLLEGE CODE Swansea University 2014-07-10T16:05:05.4429910 2013-12-06T12:17:48.1688627 College of Arts and Humanities Political and Cultural Studies Sarah Trott 0000-0002-7622-2289 1
title “The Detective as Veteran: Recasting American Hard-Boiled Writing as a Literature of Traumatic War Experience”
spellingShingle “The Detective as Veteran: Recasting American Hard-Boiled Writing as a Literature of Traumatic War Experience”
Sarah Trott
title_short “The Detective as Veteran: Recasting American Hard-Boiled Writing as a Literature of Traumatic War Experience”
title_full “The Detective as Veteran: Recasting American Hard-Boiled Writing as a Literature of Traumatic War Experience”
title_fullStr “The Detective as Veteran: Recasting American Hard-Boiled Writing as a Literature of Traumatic War Experience”
title_full_unstemmed “The Detective as Veteran: Recasting American Hard-Boiled Writing as a Literature of Traumatic War Experience”
title_sort “The Detective as Veteran: Recasting American Hard-Boiled Writing as a Literature of Traumatic War Experience”
author_id_str_mv c57232d712939dcfdf1244f36fc3504c
author_id_fullname_str_mv c57232d712939dcfdf1244f36fc3504c_***_Sarah Trott
author Sarah Trott
author2 Sarah Trott
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description The effects of combat upon American hard-boiled fiction have not been seriously examined. Yet when examined in concert, the crime genre and ‘war’ genre are thematically and stylistically complementary; each wrestles with concepts of masculinity, disillusionment, and corruption. Within hard-boiled fiction, American writers have attempted to expose a society ignorant of their characters’ traumas and focus their anger against a state that abandoned its soldiers upon their return from combat. Identifying with the embittered and similarly ‘lost’ generation of World War One, these writers incorporated a brutally explicit level of violence and seething underlying anger that marks a significant shift in the structure of American crime fiction. Their hard-boiled and war-traumatised protagonists, combined with their unforgiving social environments, produced a unique convergence of the war story and crime novel. Representing a distinctive form that can be dubbed a ‘war noir,’ writers in the twentieth century absorbed the anger, discontent, and brutality of both genres, which they used to attack an unsympathetic society and a corrupt state. In the process the hard-boiled style became a vehicle for communicating the disillusionment of authors, creating in the process a literature of traumatic war experience. The disillusionment and anguish stemming from war drove many to further the genre by highlighting the nation’s hypocrisy and the state’s corruption, resulting in a brutal but progressively realistic representation of the American social landscape.
published_date 2013-03-06T03:26:07Z
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