RARA-AVIS: Re: Most Hard-Boiled?

From: al_guthrie65 ( allan@allanguthrie.co.uk)
Date: 19 Dec 2006

Hey, Jim,

Duhamel did not 'coin the term', Serie Noire. The series was named by his friend, the poet Jacques Pr鶥rt.

Seems to me that Duhamel's definition (or description, if you prefer), however interesting, is nonetheless a red herring. From what I can gather, he was interested in procuring, primarily, American hardboiled (or British copies of American hardboiled) titles. "Dark and sinister" certainly doesn't describe any of Peter Cheyney's work, not that I've read, anyway. The phrase does, however, describe William Irish and David Goodis. Describes them extremely well, in fact. I mention them because Duhamel did coin the term S鲩e Blꭥ (which Google translates as The Pale Series).

As far as I can gather, la S鲩e Blꭥ was established in 1949, a year after la S鲩e Noire. 22 novels were published in the Pale Series over the next two years. Of those 22 novels, two were by David Goodis and two by William Irish. It would appear that Duhamel didn't think Goodis and Irish were hardboiled enough for la Serie Noire. Apparently this division confused the public so the two imprints eventually merged into the one big happy hardboiled/noir family under the Serie Noire umbrella.

That's my take, anyway.

Goodis was pale. All that neuroses'll do that to a fella.


--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, JIM DOHERTY <jimdohertyjr@...> wrote:
> Mark,
> Re your comments below:
> "Jim never offered Duhamel's own definition in his own
> words, though; instead, he employed inductive
> reasoning to interpret Duhamel's definition. Jim
> filtered the books down to the common elements of
> 'dark and sinister.'"
> Since Duhamel never gave a definition, the only way to
> derive one was to infer it by the common elements of
> the books published under his logo. Those common
> elements were, and are, a dark and sinister
> atmosphere.

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