Re: RARA-AVIS: Chandler's "Noir Feel" for LA (was Denise Hamilton)

From: Grimes (
Date: 14 May 2004

As I've learned from Rara-Avis, "noir" gets to atmosphere (dark and sinister, as Jim D. puts it) and "hard-boiled" gets to character (the tough outsider who adheres to his code, maintains his dignity and even wins a few even as he takes his lumps). So is it right to say that Chandler gives us a hard-boiled protagonist operating in a noir world? If so, at what point does the fact that Chandler's hero isn't himself a noirish character - isn't dark and sinister - isn't a desperate loser spiralling out of control and about to go down for the count - change the contours and texture of the world in which he operates - the world Chandler describes - so that it becomes something other than noirish? There's a nobility and romanticism and even an idealism in Chandler's hero and his city that is ultimately redemptive ("I can't go on. I'll go on") and so ultimately not noirish - despite the atmospherics.


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