Hard-boiled ecologies: Ross Macdonald’s environmental crime fiction

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Although Ross Macdonald’s position in the annals of great American hardboiled crime writers is unquestioned, what often been overlooked in the study of his works are the underlying environmental preoccupations that frequently serve as the background to, or context for, crime. This context of ecological violence is forcefully manifested in two of Macdonald’s later Archer novels The Underground Man (1971) and Sleeping Beauty (1973). This essay scrutinizes the environmental imperatives of Macdonald’s work, arguing that the damage and destruction inflicted upon the environment in these two texts becomes symbiotically connected to the broader, morally fraught social milieu of the city.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-54
Number of pages12
JournalGreen Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Ross Macdonald
  • Hardboiled
  • Pastoral
  • Crime fiction
  • Ecology

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