Re: RARA-AVIS: 1970s reading (in France)

From: Etienne Borgers (
Date: 07 Mar 2003

At 20:41 04-03-03 -0500, William Denton wrote:
>What do you recommend for 1970s reading?
>James Ellroy and Loren Estleman's Amos Walker didn't kick in until 1980.
>I got stuck trying to think of more names, and I have little from this
>decade on my shelves. The Vietnam war had a big effect on American
>writers, but I can't think of relevant examples.

>What was going on with HB writing in the UK and France in the '70s?


I think you received enough enlightening suggestions for what concerns American HB/noir.
In France, the 70s were a important period for HB/noir, as a radical change of approach occurred in this genre of lit. during this period... and saw the emergence of a number of important authors that renovated the genre into what we could name "modern noir", and was later coined "neo-polar" by French critics (see in the archives for a discussion about the origin of the colloquial word "polar" - mystery novel or film- in France and its full meaning).
After the anarchist uprising of French students in May 1968, the cultural life in France became totally different from what it was in the 60s, and in the noir/HB novel we saw a lot of new young writers taking stands rarely seen before in that type of lit. Of course, even if renovating, everything was not of quality, far from it.
-From 1971 until 1976, J-P Manchette published his outstanding novels, except for the last one (in the 80s)- some were recently translated in English (see R-A archives) -A.D.G. started his production of top novels, including a lot of them with black humor, light surrealism or bleak atmospheres and tough plots. I do not think something was ever translated in English.
Those two are certainly the best from that period, having a tremendous influence on their generation of writers and certainly on the following decades. Other writers of value and/or influent: Jean Vautrin - Pierre Siniac - Alex Varoux - Frederic H. Fajardie - Francis Ryck - Delacorta
Except maybe for Vautrin (outstanding author, I do not think they were translated.
But the seventies were a very lively period for the genre in France with a huge number of books being published and new critics/essayists becoming more aware of the specificity of HB/noir all along this decade.
E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries Polar Noir
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