Re: RARA-AVIS: Hard-Boiled vs Noir

James Rogers (
Sun, 26 Jul 1998 19:52:18 -0500 (CDT) At 12:29 AM 7/27/98 -0700, ej Duggan wrote:
>Someone recently asked what was the difference between hb and noir.
>Basically (IMO), hb has institutionalised corruption as its backdrop.
>The protagonist is cynical, and the methods of the hb hero may be
>indistiguishable from the hoods. Vernacular speech may also be a
>Noir, on the other hand, has a gloomy air. Fear and despair are to the
>fore. Bad things happen--wrongful imprisonment of innocent man, for
>Institutionalised corruption is not a generic requirement of noir as I
>see it.
>Hope this helps/leads to further discussion.
Since I don't think anyone on here has ever succesfully defined
"hard-boiled", I doubt that we are going to make much progress in arriving
at a satisfactory distinction from "noir" either. But I believe when the
expression "roman noir" first started to be tossed around, it just referred
generally to "that kind of stuff", whether it was the Chandler flavor or the
McGivern flavor.
I guess that I like both, and can't really discern much
difference. I mean, is _Nightmare Alley_ hard-boiled or noir?

James Michael Rogers

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