Re: RARA-AVIS: Everything's Noir?

From: Stephen Burridge (
Date: 19 May 2007

Speaking of definitions, I see has "crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings".

Which is likely the kind of definition that leads people to speak of
"medieval noir" etc.

Stephen Burridge

On 5/19/07, Jeff Vorzimmer <> wrote:
> > My definition is pretty narrow. If there's no downward spiral too
> hell,
> > if there's no psychic damage and sense of doom, it's not noir. Quoting
> > Eddie Muller's definition of noir (as taken from Ken Bruen's foreward
> > for a new edition of Miami Purity), "starts bad and gets worse." That's
> > noir. At least that's my narrow definiton. And very little of what's
> > called noir today has a resemblance to noir (at least to me). Russell
> > Hill's "Robbie's Wife" is noir, Seymour Shubin's "Anyone's My Name" is
> > noir (yeah, okay, it was written 50 years ago, but we've been
> > discussing it recently)
> I agree with this definition. WIth noir there is a sense of doom hanging
> over the main character. From the first page of Anyone's My Name, you know
> the character is doomed to the electric chair, so much so that I can
> understand readers not finishing it.
> In noir fiction, the lives of the main characters seem to spiral out of
> control, usually because of bad decisions compounded by even more bad
> decisions. This is a hallmark of Charles Williams' and Gil Brewer's novels
> for example and contemporary writers such as Jason. You see the decisions
> the characters make and you cringe and you watch as they loose complete
> control of their own lives.
> Even with someone like Spillane, whose stories don't quite fit this mold,
> their is a sense with each Mike Hammer book, e.g., that this time Hammer
> is
> doomed. It's either Hammer or the bad guy. Of course, Hammer always
> prevails.
> Jeff

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