Re: RARA-AVIS: Postmodernism and literature

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 19 Mar 2007

At 07:12 PM 17/03/2007, you wrote:

>Miker wrote:
>In a postmodern
>mystery novel, the mystery most likely won't get
>solved, and if it is solved, it won't matter to
>anyone. If it's a crime novel, nobody will pay for
>the crime, but on the outside chance that somebody
>does, it won't be the person who committed the crime
>and, again, it won't really matter.

Overlooking your overlong, adjectival rejection of postmodernism, which is revealing but not all that relevant to this discussion, couldn't this summation apply to many hardboiled and noir novels? Who killed the chauffeur in "The Big Sleep" and does it matter? Not to Raymond Chandler, apparently. What is the punishment in "The Postman Always Rings Twice"? If there is any, it's not by the judicial system. Does it matter? Who is punished in "Chinatown", the criminal or the weak (okay, that's not a novel.) Does it matter, in the sense that something is changed as a consequence?

It's okay not to like post-modernism. I myself think the philosophy defines things more as they are (as near as I can tell) than as I'd like them to be. Still, it does seem to me that the qualities you list are pretty close to the defining characteristics of noir as well, which was my point.

Maybe it's the hardboil that's more to your liking, where tough guys use their vernaculars to set things right?

Best, Kerry

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