Kleine Unterschiede?

Wer schreibt wie, wer liest was und was lässt sich aus dem einen wie dem anderen schließen? Nach den heutigen, teils zähen, nichtsdestotrotz anregenden Diskussionen mit meinen Studenten habe ich vorhin meinen Bücherschrank nichtrepräsentativ, aber vielleicht dennoch mit erhellenden Ergebnissen durchstreift: Frau oder Mann, wer hat’s geschrieben?

Detektiv Nummer 1 trifft zum ersten Mal auf die Klientin:

I poured her a mug of coffee, doing a quick visual survey. She was in her late thirties by my guess: petite, energetic, well groomed. Her hair was a glossy black and quite straight. The cut was angular and perfectly layerd so that it framed her small face like a bathing cap. She had bright blue eyrs, black lashes, a clear complexion with just a hint of blusher high on each cheekbone. She wore a boat-necked sweater in a pale blue cotton knit, and a pale blue poplin skirt. The bag she carried was quality leather, soft an supple, with a number of zippered compartments conatining God knows waht. Her nails were long and tapered, painted a rosy pink and she wore a wedding ring studded with rubies. She projected self-confidence and a ceratin careless attention to style, conservatively packaged like the complementary gift wrap in a classy department store.

She shook her head to the offer of cream and sugar so I added half-and-half to my own mug and got down to business.

„What can I help you with?“

Der erste Auftritt der Klientin beim Detektiv:

A voice said, „Thank you,“ so softly that only the purest articulation made the words intelligible, and a young woman came through the doorway. She advanced slowly, with tentative steps, looking at Spade with cobalt-blue eyes that were both shy and probing. She was tall and pliantly slender, without angularity anywhere. Her body was erect and high-breasted, her legs long, her hands and feet narrow. She wore two shades of blue that had been selected because of her eyes. The hair curling from under her blue hat was darkly red, her full lips more brightly red. White teeth glistened in the crescent her timid smile made.

Spade rose bowing and indicating with a thick-fingered hand the oaken armchair beside his desk. He was quite six feet tall. The steep rounded slope of his shoulders made his body seem almost comical-no broader than it was thick-and kept his freshly pressed grey coat from fitting very well.

Miss Wonderly murmured, „Thank you,“ softly as before and sat down on the edge of the chair’s wooden seat.

Spade sank into his swivel-chair, made a quarter-turn to face her, smiled politely. He smiled without separating his lips. All the v’s in his face grew longer. The tappity-tap-tap and the thin bell and muffled whir of Effie Perine’s typewriting came through the closed door. Somewhere in a neighboring office a power-driven machine vibrated dully. On Spade’s desk a limp cigarette smoldered in a brass tray filled with the remains of limp cigarettes. Ragged grey flakes of cigarette-ash dotted the yellow top of the desk and the green blotter and the papers that were there. A buff-curtained window, eight or ten inches open, let in from the court a current of air faintly scented with ammonia. The ashes on the desk twitched and crawled in the current.

Miss Wonderly watched the grey flakes twitch and crawl. Her eyes were uneasy. She sat on the very edge of the chair. Her feet were flat on the floor, as if she were about to rise. Her hands in dark gloves clasped a flat dark handbag in her lap. Spade rocked back in his chair and asked: „Now what can I do for you, Miss Wonderly?“

Und hier der nächste erste Auftritt … diesmal des Detektivs beim Klienten:

IT WAS ABOUT ELEVEN O’CLOCK in the morning, mid October, with the sun not
shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was
wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief,
black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat,
clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the
well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million
dollars.
The main hallway of the Sternwood place was two stories high. Over the
entrance doors, which would have let in a troop of Indian elephants, there was a
broad stained-glass panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was
tied to a tree and didn’t have any clothes on but some very long and convenient
hair. The knight had pushed the vizor of his helmet back to be sociable, and he
was fiddling with the knots on the ropes that tied the lady to the tree and not
getting anywhere. I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house, I
would sooner or later have to climb up there and help him. He didn’t seem to be
really trying.
There were French doors at the back of the hall, beyond them a wide sweep
of emerald grass to a white garage, in front of which a slim dark young
chauffeur in shiny black leggings was dusting a maroon Packard convertible.
Beyond the garage were some decorative trees trimmed as carefully as poodle
dogs. Beyond them a large green house with a domed roof. Then more trees and
beyond everything the solid, uneven, comfortable line of the foothills.
On the east side of the hall a free staircase, tile-paved, rose to a
gallery with a wrought-iron railing and another piece of stained-glass romance.
Large hard chairs with rounded red plush seats were backed into the vacant
spaces of the wall round about. They didn’t look as if anybody had ever sat in
them. In the middle of the west wall there was a big empty fireplace with a
brass screen in four hinged panels, and over the fireplace a marble mantel with
cupids at the corners. Above the mantel there was a large oil portrait, and
above the portrait two bullet-torn or moth-eaten cavalry pennants crossed in a
glass frame. The portrait was a stiffly posed job of an officer in full
regimentals of about the time of the Mexican war. The officer had a neat black
Imperial, black mustachios, hot hard coalblack eyes, and the general look of a
man it would pay to get along with. I thought this might be General Sternwood’s
grandfather. It could hardly be the General himself, even though I had heard he
was pretty far gone in years to have a couple of daughters still in the
dangerous twenties.

I was still staring at the hot black eyes when a door opened far back
under the stairs. It wasn’t the butler coming back. It was a girl.
She was twenty or so, small and delicately put together, but she looked
durable. She wore pale blue slacks and they looked well on her. She walked as if
she were floating. Her hair was a fine tawny wave cut much shorter than the
current fashion of pageboy tresses curled in at the bottom. Her eyes were
slategray, and had almost no expression when they looked at me. She came over
near me and smiled with her mouth and she had little sharp predatory teeth, as
white as fresh orange pits and as shiny as porcelain. They glistened between her
thin too taut lips. Her face lacked color and didn’t look too healthy.

Okay, echte Krimifans dürften diese Beispiele erkennen (wenigstens No. 2 und No. 3) – aber wenn man diese Texte liest, was für einen Eindruck hinterlassen sie? Unterscheiden sie sich z.B. im Detailreichtum der (Personen)Beschreibung?

In der heutigen Sitzung wie schon zuvor im Uniseminar „Schreibt sie anders, als er liest?“, wo es explizit um Genderfragen in Sachen Kriminlaliteratur ging, tauchte die These auf, Frauen würden besonders detailreich (be)schreiben – was zudem als latent langweilig angesehen wird. Eine These, die sowohl auf Zustimmung als auch auf Ablehnung stieß und die mir so stereotyp wie unzutreffend erscheint. Erst recht, wenn man sich anschaut, wer hinter welchem Beispiel steckt – als da wären:

Sue Grafton (B is for Burglar) kommt meiner Einschätzung nach am schnellsten auf den Punkt, während Sam Spade, Dashiell Hammetts Detektiv (The Maltese Falcon), sich erst einmal fassen muss nach dem umwerfenden Auftritt von Miss Wonderly und Raymond Chandlers Philip Marlowe  (The Big Sleep) vom Detailreichtum seiner Beschreibungen sowohl als Herrenausstatter wie als Innenarchitekt durchginge.

Okay, das ist jetzt vielleicht ein bisschen polemisch-zugespitzt. Aber es kommt ja noch etwas hinzu: Romane sind – hoffentlich, bestenfalls – Sprachkunstwerke. Sich darüber zu beklagen, sie enthielten zuviel Be-Schreibung erscheint mir etwas seltsam. Denn außer Beschriebenem – Orten, Personen, Gedanken, Handlungen, etc. – können sie höchsten noch Dialoge enthalten. Die Sprache ist nun mal das einzige Mittel, das ihnen zur Verfügung steht …

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