The American detective novel of the twentieth century evolved from a popular art form to a complex genre precariously exhibiting qualities of “high seriousness”. Early in the century American crime fiction appeared primarily in pulp magazines such as

True Crime

or the influential

Black Mask

, and in cheap paperback editions. By the century's end, handsome reprints of the best of the genre were being published by mainstream presses, while literary scholars, critics and cultural historians mined these texts for nuanced meanings and significance. The Americanization of the detective romance, the “hard-boiled” or “tough guy” evolution, became a given in scholarship devoted to the century's literary history. This shapes the legacy of the four great practitioners of the century,…

3513 words

Citation: Dougherty, David C.. "Ross MacDonald". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 March 2004 [, accessed 25 May 2024.]

2848 Ross MacDonald 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.