RARA-AVIS: Roots of modern noir (was: HEART OF DARKNESS)

From: Etienne Borgers ( wbac1203@wanadoo.be)
Date: 25 Jul 2003

>Currently rereading Conrad's _Heart of Darkness_,

And then different Avians on how short sentences have to be to be in modern novels.

Finally, Miles said (smartly):
>Certainly HOD qualifies as noir. And it was very unusual, for it's day, in
>that it had no 'happy ending'. I would also offer MOBY DICK as noir, or at
>least part of the foundation of the genre.

I totally agree with Miles' statement. An important part of Conrad's works are distant roots of modern noir (modern distant roots: let us say from the end of the 19th century-1870- and until approx 1920, to make the distinguishing from even more ancient traces we could find occasionally). And its modernism has nothing to do with the length of its sentences. He's also a (rather unspoken) major influence on the best of modern lit
(mainstream). A short story (close to novella) I always considered as exemplary of Conrad's universe, low-key noir, without a mix of pure melodrama and emphasis, is : "Youth" (by the way it's also with Marlow) -(maybe Mario could consider rereading it also…). Most of the time Conrad's best texts conveys *indirectly* their content of essential feelings and perception of destiny, with no cheap call to sentimentalism or to exacerbated "melodramatism". That's where he cuts it short IMO.

Few years back there was even a very interesting discussion about that kind of topics on R-A, picking-up these literary authors that were distant roots for modern noir, or were influential. Other traces of influences can be found in some works of the best popular
"adventures" novels authors (Stevenson, London and others).

Mark, on "Apocalypse Now", film by Coppola:
>I think it's a
>flawed masterpiece
It's an overvalued film, by an overvalued director! And from any angle you may analyze it, it does not show a better side… Not even a very good film per se, even if you do not link it to Conrad's HOD: Operatic, melodramatic, no focus (the story)… etc I expressed this point of view many times on R-A about this film.

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries http://www.geocities.com/Athens6384

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