Re: RARA-AVIS: Hard-Boiled vs Noir

Julie Ross (
Sun, 26 Jul 1998 23:03:06 -0500 (CDT)
>          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

I've always understood these terms to be used interchageably. The only difference that ever pops into my head is "hard-boiled" being used more often as an attribute of style, and "noir" as used as a description of tone or mood, i.e. "roman noir" or black (dark) novel. I don't really feel uncomfortable substituting one for the other.
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