RE: RARA-AVIS: Influences: Nathanael West

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 11 Jun 2002

<<none of those really seem "noirish", but i understand that his later works, like _the mysterious stranger_, are darker.>>

Yes, much darker. The Mysterious Stranger is a magical book. I recently reread it as part of the Library of America Twain collection. This particular volume has the two Sawyer sequels, both very interesting books, as well as the comic masterpieces The Gilded Age and The American Claimant. Superb stuff, all of it. In scope, wit and stealth, Twain has no rival. Besides, he's readable, something one cannot say of all great American writers. With his rough-and-tumble journalistic style, Twain can say more than a thousand academics writing about themselves or other academics (not fair: everybody can say more than academics writing about themselves or other academics, no offense, I am one of them, etc.)

Actually, it seems that Twain was dark all along. He lived in an interesting era -- it was not hard for him to find what to get mad about... never end a sentence with a prepucition.

To be precise about noir vs. hardboiled, Twain was mentioned here as the father of the realistic school of American writing, which includes hardboiled (particularly hardboiled dialogue) and some noir as well.

Best, and it's too damn hot in here.


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