Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir and Hardboiled Fiction

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 13 Dec 2003

----- Original Message ----- From: "Geir Glosvik" <>
> This list is supposed to welcome discussions of both
> hardboiled/PI/police fiction AND noir fiction. I've been thinking about
> the very different views of life that these writers depict. Lately,
> we've discussed the difference between Chandler and Hammmet. Not much
> difference there - except in style. But try to compare the PI-novels -
> where something is wrong and the PI corrects the wrong and everybody's
> happy in the end - with the Goodis/McCoy/Thompson view of life. These
> ways of writing - these problems that are described - and the solutions
> to the problems, they are so very different! I'm not saying anything's
> wrong, anybody can discuss anything, but don't you agree that we're
> discussing literature with fundamentally different views of life on this
> list?

Geir, I'm more inclined to surmise that the distinction isn't whether a writer is hardboiled or noir, but whether he writes from the viewpoint of the criminal (crime fiction) or detective (detective fiction). Crime fiction is often (but not exclusively, Jim) noir and detective fiction is often (but not exclusively, Jim) hardboiled. But, regardless of the noir/hardboiled aspect, crime fiction is the opposite of detective fiction and is thus, as you point out, fundamentally different.


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