Re: RARA-AVIS: Types of noir (was Re: Pop. 1280)

From: Michael Robison (
Date: 28 Jul 2007

Brian Thornton wrote:

That begs to the question: if MACBETH was noir, then what the hall would you call HAMLET? After all, one of the working definitions of noir is that your protagonist is "fucked on page one, and things go downhill from there."

************ Yup. Sounds good to me. And Greek tragedy. And the oldest written story in the world, Gilgamesh. The themes of noir run all the back to the beginning of literature. Other than minor differences, there is no way to differentiate noir from works that go back to when dirt was young. If you are going for "dark and sinister" or "screwed," you're definitely into Gothic and a fair amount of medieval stuff. I read Frankenstein a few weeks back. Definitely dark and sinister. I'm just about finished with Le Morte D'Arthur. With my only previous exposure to Arthur coming from The Once and Future King, I never realized how dark the Arthurian legend is.

Charles Willeford wrote that all great literature is depressing.


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