Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V5 #33

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 13 Feb 2003

Mario wrote:

"We need to refine the concept: are we talking about noir as style
(which includes atmosphere) or about a typology of characters and situations?"

Mario, you put into words something that has been nagging at me throughout this discussion. Are we talking about story or presentation?

Sure, there are plenty of stories prior to those we accept as noir that have noirish plotlines. But are they told in a noir style? Although Willeford based the story of Cockfighter on Homer's Odyssey (as did the Coens in the movie O' Brother), is the model noir? I think not.

I guess that's why I think of the city when I think of noir. It's those shadows (and yes, I may be retro-fitting filmic elements onto its literary source material). However, as Marianne so eloquently pointed out, it's not just buildings and doorways that cast shadows. So I guess it was more a statement of my own taste than of genre that the city is a character. Maybe, the setting is a character?


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