RARA-AVIS: Re: Noir, etc

From: Al Guthrie ( allanguthrie@ukonline.co.uk)
Date: 16 Feb 2003

Thinking about "screwed" as a definition, I've concluded that it only works as a psychological term. As far as external events are concerned, "screwed" isn't necessarily noir. An optimist can be repeatedly "screwed" without batting a noir eyelid (Candide or Earl Swagger in Pale Horse Coming, for example). Come to think of it, being repeatedly "screwed" and not giving a damn is pretty hardboiled. "Screwed" and thinking the whole world's out to get you, that's one aspect of noir. But it isn't that simple. Jim Thompson's psychopaths don't fit the "screwed" definition, but they're sure as hell noir. They do fit the "psychological horror" definition. Surely one of the most obvious links between Thompson's psychopaths and Goodis's paranoids is abnormal psychology. And those books we really enjoy, but aren't quite noir? Maybe the protagonist is too sane? I don't know. I'm merely speculating.


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