Friday, March 17, 2006
noir, crime, middle class, Serpent's Tail
Quote from Pete Ayrton, publisher of Serpent's Tail Press, on their Mask Noir series (published in Jacket, no. 4, July 1998--an online magazine): "The crime list has really taken off since we last talked. It started with the whole P. D. James controversy. P.D. James gave this interview to the World Service of the BBC — which, you know, you’re not meant to listen to in the UK. It went out at 3.30 or so in the morning, broadcast for Latin America or somewhere, and she made the point that the middle classes were the suitable subject for crime fiction because the working classes didn’t make moral choices. Regardless of what one thinks of what she said, it certainly led to a loud and controversial debate over the nature of crime writing, who are its protagonists, who are its natural subjects. And obviously there is a recognition that the UK is changing as a society, it’s becoming multi-ethnic, whole hierarchies are disintegrating and contemporary crime writing has to reflect this changing reality of contemporary British cities. And the literary traditions of the cosy, the rural inspector, no longer seem adequate for the genre to cover the reality of British life." This is a reference that I've mentioned before, regarding P.D. James's incredible statement. Comments?