RARA-AVIS: origins of noir

From: Don Lee ( donthepoet@yahoo.com)
Date: 18 Sep 2007

The trick for me, or problem rather, with tracing the roots of noir, is roughly parallel to the arguments tracing the origins of science fiction back to Cyrano de Bergerac--or worse, to the Greeks. Yes, their tales contained fabulous adventures in the spheres or whatever, and yes, Cyrano wrote about a voyage to the Moon...but was it sci-fi? I'm sure you can trace film noir back to the origin of film-anything, and thr idea of tragedy is as old as the Greeks, but what sane person would actually argue that noir existed before, say, the Twenties? How could it? Victorian Noir? It is to laugh. I will say this: One definition of "poetry" is "anything that you are point at when you use the term, if you are being serious," and for "poetry" substitute "noir." That leaves a lot of loose ends, and won't satisfy a lot of people, because it's more an intuitive definition than a taxonomic one, but, as the great sci-fi writer Ted Sturgeon loved to point out, "Taxonomy is no substitute for understanding."


Bruce Lee said it best -- WALK ON!

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