RARA-AVIS: Re: Hardboiled genealogy

From: George Tuttle ( noirfiction@whoever.com)
Date: 10 Feb 2006

I see the key problem discussing "film noir" in course on the hardboiled genre is that film noir as conceived by Nino Frank is not a genre, but a cinematic style that cuts across many genres. That said, crime films in the 1940s didn't shun themes like sexual obsession, loneliness, despair, and those qualities associated with noir fiction. They gave stories in the tradition of James M. Cain and W. R. Burnett a larger platform and suggested an interest in noir that became very self-evident when publishers like Gold Medal, Lion Books, and other paperback original publishers exploded on the scene. Still, I overall, I find myself agreeing with your overall conclusion. I would tend to think that film would tend to cloud the understanding of what hardboiled writing is. On the other hand, one would probably get a livelier discussion by bring films into the mix.

Yes, good point about Willeford. I would like to add I am not aware of any writer from this time period who focused on psychotic behavior like Jim Thompson. Gil Brewer, Peter Rabe, and others visited this issue, but I am not aware of anyone who seem to dive into like Thompson or do it as well.

George the Librarian

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Doug Bassett <dj_bassett@...> wrote:
> I think Willeford's protagonists are definitely
> sociopathic, if not exactly "psychotic". I also think
> that Willeford saw sociopathology as a kind of
> normative state, at least for sucessful living. This
> moral ambivalence gives his work much of it's
> richness, I think.
> As for the tree, I finally took a look and I think
> it's okay as far as it goes. Personally I think if
> you're trying to understand hardboiled *writing* it'd
> be more interesting to drop off the film noir stuff
> completely and focus instead on works that, while not
> hardboiled themselves, have influenced a lot of what
> followed: the grim bureacratic spies of Le Carre,
> Robert Stone's hippie-bummer books, etc. I think you
> could get a better understanding of where we're at
> now.
> Her syllabus has an interesting connection between
> Ellroy and LAURA. I've not read the book, but the
> movie is a favorite of mine, and it's a good insight
> to link the two together.
> doug
> --- Dave Zeltserman <davezelt@...> wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > Also, are Goodis and Williford's heroes really
> > > psychotic?
> > >
> > >
> > > Do You Yahoo!?
> > > Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam
> > protection around
> > > http://mail.yahoo.com
> > >
> >
> > I look at Willeford's protagonists, at least in The
> > Cockfighter, Woman
> > Chaser, and even Hoke Mosely going berserk in
> > Grimhaven as characters
> > unwilling to compromise their values or lives or
> > artistic vision,
> > regardless of the consequences. Might make them
> > anti-social, but not
> > psychotic.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> Doug Bassett
> dj_bassett@...
> __________________________________________________
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 10 Feb 2006 EST