Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir Horror?

From: Greg Swan (
Date: 09 Feb 2000

----- Original Message ----- From: "Terrill Lankford" <>

> To which I reply: Right on, Mark! The notion that horror is rife with
> sentimentality and hard-boiled novels are somehow above all that strikes
me as
> complete nonsense. Romantic sentimentality is the subtext of most
> fiction, especially the P.I.. subgenre. Chandler is probably one of the
> "offenders" (but even the likes of Hemingway and Bukowski can be "accused"
> it).

Yup. Neo-realism takes a romantic core and encapsulates it in "realism." A lot of what makes the genre interesting to me is the clash between the two sensibilities. It's also this conflict that makes a lot of hardboiled writing seem ready to explode. I'd go one step further and claim it's this very tension that we term the hardboiled "attitude," as in the appellation
"hb is an attitude, not a genre." It's a lot more obvious in Chandler than in Hammet. And, it's what's lacking or at least not fully-formed in early Carroll John Daly. (He finally got it right with Satan Hall.)

Greg Swan

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