RE: RARA-AVIS: Hard-Boiled vs Noir

James Rogers (
Mon, 27 Jul 1998 10:11:33 -0500 (CDT) At 08:43 AM 7/27/98 -0600, you wrote:
>I don't think this is a tough distinction to make. The HB features a
>tough hero. Mickey Spillane, Phillip Marlowe, Sam Spade or Spenser.
>But the moral alignment is clear. The Noir novel features an
>anti-hero. See 'Postman Always Rings Twice' or 'Double Indemnity.' The
>moral alignment or the protagonist runs contrary to the morals of
>society in general.
Except that I have always thought "Postman" was practically
definitive hard-boiled, one of the books that gave the genre it's name and
identity in fact (to the disgust of Chandler). I would also point out that
the moral alignment is not nearly so clear in Hammett's books. Ned Beaumont
is a gangster and ward-heeler, after all. Moral alignment is even cloudier
in Ellroy.
To add a little perspective, maybe we should recall that
noir was more or less adopted as a marketing gimmick, at least in the U.S..
Prior to that the books were all called hard-boiled or tough....that is ,
when they weren't just called "junk"or simply ignored.

James Michael Rogers

# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# The web pages for the list are at