Re: RARA-AVIS: Re:Most Hard-Boiled?

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 19 Dec 2006

At 12:26 AM 19/12/2006 -0500, you wrote:

>You gotta give Jim credit for sticking to his guns, new evidence be

It's not just that the terms "dark and sinister" don't appear in Duhamel's description. It's that he confirms the definition of "doomed" suggested by Jack Bludis.

"Those who like Sherlock Holmes-type puzzles won't find what they're looking for. Neither will systematic optimists."

Sounds to me like Duhamel is saying fairly clearly that noir is the stuff of pessimists, or doom-sayers.

"The immorality generally accepted in this type of work solely to serve as a foil for conventional morality is just as much at home there as fine feelings, even just plain amorality."

I think Duhamel is saying here that the immorality (the dark and sinister quality) that shows up in other works solely as a contrast for conventional morality, finds a place in noir on a par with conventional morality or amorality.

This would suggest that "dark and sinister" cannot be a defining characteristic of noir, as such atmospherics are used elsewhere. The difference is in how the immorality or dark and sinister atmosphere is employed. There is much that is dark and sinister in Sherlock Holmes stories, even in the character himself, but the stories confirm conventional morality, whereas noir spares no room for optimists.

Thanks to Al and Karin.

Best, Kerry

------------------------------------------------------ Literary events Calendar (South Ont.) The evil men do lives after them

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 19 Dec 2006 EST