Re: RARA-AVIS: Kafka

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 17 Feb 2005

At 08:10 PM 17/02/2005 +0000, you wrote:

>I disagree. Noir need not involve a crime. To be sure, there must be
>threatening, but it can be self-inflicted or just in the head of the
>characters. The threat
>may be anything, from a crushing bureaucracy that destroys dignity and
>hope (as in
>Kafka's work) to drug- or alcohol-induced fantasies that destroy the
>protagonist. Noir
>reaches quite far. Dino Buzzati's masterpiece, _The Desert of the
>Tartars_, is noir, as is
>Adolfo Bioy Casare's _Adventures of a Photographer in La Plata_. There are
>no crimes, but
>the atmosphere is ominous, and the doings, rummy all the way to nightmarish.

Well, now we're back to atmospherics, and that's just not enough to define the genre, in my less than humble opinion.

> > And while it may be Hard Boil that's working class, noir too looks at the
> > world, especially the exercise of power, from the bottom up. Correct me if
> > I'm wrong, but might not even Captains be existentialists?
>I don't think hardboiledness has to do mainly with class. Hardboiled
>characters can belong
>to any social class.

Colloquial. Didn't we agree on colloquial as the characteristic for hard boiled? Not that class entirely coincides with colloquial, but we're getting awfully close. So much of it is about the working stiff, or the disenfranchised. I don't think we're talking Knob Hill colloquialisms here.

Hoping this kicks off another round of "Definitions," Kerry

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 17 Feb 2005 EST