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

From: Michael Robison (
Date: 26 Nov 2006

Patrick King wrote:

I don't really agree with you here, Jim. Noir concerns the nature of the hero.

*********** Everybody else here has heard this before, so I'll be brief. Paul Duncan wrote a very thin book called Noir Fiction, and his primary thesis in the book agrees with your comment that noir concerns the nature of the hero. Paul thinks that the difference between the hardboiled and noir character is in their degree of control. The hardboiled character, like Marlowe or Spade, struggle but in the end they maintain some semblance of control. Some do this by strength, some by detachment, almost all by using a certain amount of guile. The noir character, on the other hand, is generally in the process of losing control.

Paraphrasing Duncan, a hardboiled character might be teetering on the brink of the abyss, but the noir character is drowning in it.


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