Re: RARA-AVIS: Jason and Medea and the others

From: Etienne Borgers (
Date: 14 Feb 2003

Noir, this evanescent color...

Yes indeed, a lot of episodes of Classic Greek tragedies, or epics, could illustrate the basics of noir. Just think about 'Oedipus Rex'... Archetype of the quest for the Truth, wherein the PI is the assassin... and a complete victim of destiny. This story is probably the absolute emblem for the type of noir lit we discuss on this list. I'm certainly not the only one thinking of Sophocles' tragedy in that way. A few years back, there was even a noir novel in French, telling in a straightforward way Oedipu's drama, with modern words, titled: "Oedipe Roi"
(published by Serie Noire).

On the other hand there was a "novellisation" of certain episodes of the Trojan War, by A.A.Atanasio and Roberts S. Henderson : "Silent" (1996) A member of a street gang, the Street Gypsies, seduces the wife of a Mafia boss in Boston... This pastiche uses some of the best known events of this War as background for its modern story. Note: The same episodes were already used in lit works by a Greek guy aka Homere...


At 07:49 14-02-03 -0800, Mario wrote:
>The version I thumbnailed is based on an epic of the
>Argonauts written by Apollonios of Rhodes (3rd century BC).
>And I did indeed omit the fact that she kills Jason's young
>lover (her father is also killed, by chance) by sending the
>poisoned dress. I don't recall what Euripides does with
>Jason at the end. Apollonius has him commit suicide. This
>is quite fitting to a noir tale. I'll check out Euripides.
>The business with Medea and the chariot is strikingly
>similar to how tthe bad dames of noir take off after
>wreaking havoc.
>>From Medea to Gil Brewer, not such a stretch after all.
>It's all been done, so what?

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 14 Feb 2003 EST