RE: RARA-AVIS: Noir Horror? [long]

From: John & Carrie (
Date: 05 Feb 2000

Doug Bassett said:

> 4. Although what you say about Brite, Barker, etc. is
> true (that the scenarios these authors come up have
> some things in common with hardboiled/noir scenarios),
> I think that the florid, Gothic-styled language these
> writers use sort of eliminates them from consideration
> here.

I tend not to disagree with you on this. I think that noir is generally characterized by a sparse, hardboiled style of writing, with important exceptions, such as Cornell Woolrich. On the other hand, if Woolrich is noir, and I don't think that there is much disagreement that he is, then where does that leave us?

> 5. Your point about Lovecraft and Woolrich is
> excellent! I'd never thought of the two together
> before, but you're right, there are many similarities.
> I, however, draw different conclusions from this.
> Rather than edging Lovecraft into the noir world, I
> think it tends to edge Woolrich into the fantasy
> world. Perhaps Woolrich is best appreciated as a kind
> of surrealist? (I've noticed that many of Woolrich's
> admirers -- Ray Bradbury comes to mind -- are fantasy
> writers, not hardboiled writers.)

Ya know, Woolrich is really such an interesting wrench in the gears here. His writing, as you mention, is very sytlistically surrealist, yet he's not considered normally as a fantasist type. And i"m not aware of any current hardboiled or noir writer who writes in his style. Yet, we are all aware of how important a figure he is in regard to the genre.

And, if anyone lived the life of noir, it sure as hell was him!


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