Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir and Society

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 30 Oct 2005

At 05:36 PM 30/10/2005 +0000, you wrote:
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Tim Wohlforth" <>
> > Noir and the hardboiled are essentially American products, American
> > exports. The cozy, on the other hand, is essentially a British product,
> > for us an import. Of course, there is Ian Rankin and Ken Bruen and
> > Henning Wankell. But they have imported the form from us just as
> > countless American cozy writers have imported that form from England.
>So which of Ian Rankin, Ken Bruen and Henning Mankell are English?

Not to mention that Chandler was educated in England, and gained his wartime experience (a formative experience for noir/hardboiled writers, I think we've suggested) with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, if I recall correctly. And Macdonald, though born in the US, had Canadian parentage and was raised here, again significant given how much his biographer says his writing was influenced by childhood experiences.

Atwood says the dominant theme of Canadian literature is survival in a harsh environment. The American theme seems to be one of aspiration, going by that "life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness" thing. The Canadian motto is "peace, order and good government." Not much for us Canucks to aspire to I suppose, assuming some day we actually get that seemingly elusive good government. English Canada was founded by refugees from the American revolution. Safe to say screwed is what many of them felt, especially the religious refugees such as Macdonald's Mennonite ancestors who wanted nothing to do with the fight to begin with (though I'm not sure when Macdonald's maternal ancestors actually immigrated, and whether they arrived from the US or straight from Switzerland.) In Quebec, French Canadians have long felt themselves abandoned by France and screwed by the English. So maybe this noir thing comes from watching the neighbours' garden party through a knothole in the fence?


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 30 Oct 2005 EST