RARA-AVIS: Hemingway and Noir

From: Tim Wohlforth ( tim@timwohlforth.com)
Date: 10 May 2005

While the term "noir" usually connotes a kind of dark crime story. It can even be narrowly defined as a story within which the protagonist loses. At the end not even a spark of light is emitted. However, I believe the term is useful to designate a dark view of the world wherein while humans may strive to overcome evil they invariably lose. Hemingway shares that mood.

For example from "Clean Well-Lighted":

"It was nothing that he knew too well. It was all a nothing and a man was nothing too. It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanliness and order. Some lived in it and never felt it but he knew it all was nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada."


"There was much game hanging outside the shops, and the snow powdered in the fur of the foxes and the wind blew their tails. The deer hung stiff and heavy and empty, and small birds blew in the wind and the wind turned their feathers. It was a cold fall and the wind came down from the mountains."


"It was snow they tramped along in until they died that winter."

Now, for me, that's noir writing.

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 10 May 2005 EDT