RARA-AVIS: Call for papers: PARADOXA

William Denton (buff@pobox.com)
Tue, 30 Nov 1999 17:44:36 -0500 (EST)

I was asked to forward this to the list.


Paradoxa: Call for Papers


Deadline for Submissions: April 1, 2000

Paradoxa is seeking submissions for a special issue on "noir": its origins, its so-called classic period, its more contemporary forms, as well as the dead-ends and blind alleys that have gone to ground along the way. The past decade has seen an explosion of noir sensibility in all manner of popular media. Readers and critics of roman and film noir are invited to address any and all aspects of the form (or genre, or style). Everything about noir appears debatable, from the time and place of its birth, to the legitimacy of its continued existence. What is noir? Definitional essays will be helpful in grappling with our topic. What is the relationship between, for instance, the "dark city mysteries" of the 19th century and the hardboiled detective novels of Hammett and Chandler that helped codify noir? How did the French interpretation of American crime films of the 1940s forever impact our understanding of noir? Other topics of interest might include:

Noir and Race: Novelists Chester Himes and Walter Mosely have chosen the noir genre. How have they been formed by it, and how have they transformed it? It has been said that Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines have influenced Gangsta Rap. What is the relationship between noir and culture? Noir and
(inter)Textuality: Is noir all context, all atmosphere and ambiance and attitude? Or is there a "there" there, an underlying site, a Jungian archetype, an Ur text, a locus of references where the writer's and reader's needs meet? Who is the ideal noir writer's reader? Noir and

Sexuality: Readers have found both fear and hatred of women and gays, and revulsion for the sexual impulse itself, in much classic noir. Are the obvious answers insufficient? Too transparent? Is there an implicit challenge that noir authors extend in the form of their apparent misogyny or homophobia? How have women and gay writers used and subverted noir?

Neo-Noir Auteurs: Why have Quentin Tarrantino, the Coen brothers, John Dahl, and others expressed such interest in noir? How have the neo-noir filmmakers subverted and expanded its possibilities? How can we understand the pop side of contemporary noir? Where is the intersection between Avant-Pop and noir?

Noir and SF: From K.W. Jeter's Dr. Adder to William Gibson's Neuromancer to Michael Marshall Smith's Spares, we see cyberpunks borrowing from the rich veins of the Black Mask writers. How and why do neo-noir writers use traditional noir devices to reenergize their own endeavors.

Noir on the Left/Noir on the Right: From Dashiell Hammett to Jim Thompson to Ross Macdonald, noir has been a place where writers with leftist sympathies have forged paranoid fantasies in which the consumerist impulse is made manifest in a killing frenzy. At the same time, Mickey Spillane and James Ellroy have created fantasies of conspiracy and xenophobic menace. How have shifts in political culture effected noir over the years? or, how is the political and cultural landscape reflected in noir?

Noir and the City: From George Lippard's The Quaker City, the urban jungle has been portrayed as an unknowable cesspool of corruption, paranoia and disease. Why is so much noir set in the city? Can noir exist in a rural landscape? How does critic Mike Davis (City of Quartz) read a noir narrative on the face of Los Angeles? Where do we locate Daniel Woodrell's noir Ozark fiction along this spatial noir continuum?

Noir and the American Tradition: In his National Book Award-winning bio of Jim Thompson, Robert Polito sees Thompson's Savage Night as having roots in Charles Brockden Brown's Weiland. Is noir an American form, born out of a unique culture circumstance? Which may beg the additional question of the place of noir in the American canon: How significant is the publication of the Library of America's Crime Novels, and what does the LOA's choice of titles reveal about our assumptions regarding noir?

While we certainly will be entertaining work on Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson, David Goodis, Horace McCoy and Charles Willeford, we are just as interested in the web of intersecting paths that have been followed, forgotten, detoured around and rediscovered in the last 50 years. Are there any "lost treasures" that need to be reclaimed, writers who toiled in this often disposable form but were discarded too quickly? We are also interested in seeing critiques of current noir practitioners such as James Ellroy, Jerome Charyn, Richard Stark, Sara Paretsky, George Pelecanos, Daniel Woodrell, Dennis Lehane, Craig Holden, Joe Lansdale, Eddie Bunker, James Sallis, Vicki Hendricks, Boston Teran, Susanna Moore, Andrew Vachss, Robert Skinner, etc. Paradoxa invites queries regarding other possibilities.

Guest-Editor for the issue is novelist Jack O'Connell (Box Nine, Wireless, The Skin Palace, Word Made Flesh), College of the Holy Cross

Deadline for submissions is April 1, 2000. Please consult submission guidelines on the inside back cover of the journal, or follow MLA guidelines in terms of general format, citation reference, footnotes, headings, etc. Send 3 copies, each with an abstract of not more than 300 words on a separate page, to Managing Editor David Willingham c/o Paradoxa PO Box 2237, Vashon Island WA 98070 (USA). For more information regarding this project, or past or future projects, or subscriptions to the journal, send queries to (Info@Paradoxa.com) or see the Paradoxa website at: www.accessone.com/~paradoxa


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