RARA-AVIS: Characteristics of noir

From: Robison Michael R CNIN ( Robison_M@crane.navy.mil)
Date: 11 Feb 2003

I've been thinking about noir. Oftentimes the origin of noir fiction is pegged in the early Thirties, pointing to works by James Cain, Paul Cain, Raoul Whitfield, and even Faulkner. Can you think of any noir characteristics that separate these works from earlier ones by Conrad, Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, or even Greek tragedy?

I'm not really looking for an argument over the definition. I like both Jim's "dark and sinister atmosphere", and Jack Bludis's "screwed". I'm simply looking for some justification for noir beginning in the Thirties instead of two thousand years ago. And if you are thinking of the "alienation of modern man", you better come on strong with it because I need some convincing. ;-)

Thanks, miker

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