Re: RARA-AVIS: Bastard child

Date: 26 Feb 2004


Re your comment below:

> Ah, the creationist version of words. They come
> into being and forever
> remain the same.
> Personally, I believe in evolution, where genres can
> change, even
> mutate, and their labels can find room for the
> offspring.

And that would be, what exactly? The Humpty-Dumpty-ist version of words, perhaps?

Here's a tip. When Lewis Carroll quoted Humpty-Dumpty as saying, "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less," he wasn't seriously suggesting a viable way of approaching language. He was trying to make Humpty-Dumpty seem ridiculous.

And, as I keep on telling you, "noir" isn't a genre, it's way of describing a mood or an atmosphere. If a story has it, it's noir; if it doesn't, it's not.

Further, if you want to include all the "offspring," it seems to me that my suggested defintion is a lot more inclusive than anything anyone else has come up with.

> And wait a
> minute, if we are stuck with Duhamel's definition --
> you point out it
> was just a pun employed as a broad marketing term,
> covering his mystery
> line, not all "dark and sinister" -- doesn't that
> render your
> definition as much a later reinterpretation as that
> of those who find a
> "deep, existential meaning" at the core of the
> literature?

Duhamel didn't "define" it; he applied it, leaving it to us to discern the common elements that all the books he published under the SERIE NOIR logo had, and so to identify the DEFINING elements.

The common elements, and, in consequence, the DEFINING elements, were a dark and sinister atmosphere, and
(since Kerry needs it spelled out) a crime story plot.


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