RARA-AVIS: Re:can noir writers advocate social reform?

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 24 Nov 2006


Re your question below:

"I assume that novelists who can be called noir, like Cain, McCoy, Algren, Dahlberg, Fante, or Benjamin Appel are not social reformers or proletarian novelists inciting to social change, and that social reformers like James T Farrell, John Dos Passos or Michael Gold, however much they deal with evil, the criminal underclass, and political corruption, cannot be considered noir or hardboiled. Does this distinction make sense?"

No, it doesn't.

Hard-boiled is about attitude and style, not politics.
 Noir is about tone and atmosphere, not politics.

If it's tough and colloquial, it's hard-boiled.

If it's dark and sinister, it's noir.

If it's tough and colloquial, AND dark and sinister, it's hard-boiled AND noir.

If it's any of those things, and the writer has a political ax to grind, either right-wing or left-wing, then it's hard-boiled, or noir, or hard-boiled AND noir, with either a right-wing ax to grind, or a left-wing ax to grind.

In other words, that the writer may be considered a social reformer, or may consider himself a social reformer, doesn't enter into the equation.


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