Re: RARA-AVIS: Of Lumpers and Splitters

From: Etienne Borgers (
Date: 04 Sep 2000

Then lumper it should be! We've have had similar discussions here in the past, and over-splittting genres sub-categories does not help to catch the essence of it! On the contrary. It just gives a mere classification of plots.. Plots are not the essence of HB/Noir, as we know all here by one way or the other.

Lumper will unify and give a chance to see a set of common characteristics that belongs to any items of the genre. But IMO splitting will just detect differences impeaching any unifying view.

Plus the evolution of the meaning of words... Genre evolutes, fortunately. But the general acceptance of the meager labels pop lit generates evolves rapidly as well.

So even if you admit a broader scope for the genre, a lot of misunderstanding could arise by the word Hard-Boiled itself (certainly not the same significant now as even 30 years ago!)

An example taken from film evolution: Noir was used for these films of the end of 30's and 40's mainly. So for historical approach Noir designates that period. Now for the genre itself - because it became a genre- and its modern representation Noir covers even films of last year. And here starts the confusion again, if someone sticks to the historical meaning.

I personally think the evolution of meaning of the
"labels" like Hard-Boiled is what probably bothers more the detractors of any unifying way to approach the genre in its modern forms.

From this, I think, arises a lot of dead-end approaches

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries Polar Noir

--- Robert Centor <> wrote:

> Lumpers categorize using fewer categories -
> splitters increase the
> number of categories.
> Splitters - English cozies, Southern Cozies, Midwest
> Cozies, Cat owner
> cozies, PI hard-boiled, Police hard-boiled, female
> hard-boiled.
> As a lumper I favor larger categories and accept
> more variation within
> the category.
> __________________________________________________

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