Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir and Redemption

Date: 18 Jan 2008

Nathan asked:

"The first question I have, though, is this interpretation of noir really "new" as the marketing copy suggests, or is this just a new packaging of an old idea?"

That was my first reaction when reading the promo summary. For instance, we've often discussed noir in relation to redemption and transcendence. In fact, Kerry, for one, has made numerous arguments that this is the key issue of noir, though he sees noir as embodying the impossibility of transcendence, which counters the claim this copy says the book makes that noir embodies redemption. I'm more than willing to say noir engages the issue of redemption, but how often does the protagonist achieve it? That's not a rhetorical question: How often do noir books end with the protagonist redeemed? Of course, it's different with classic noir movies since the Motion Picture Code so often required/imposed a positive ending, like the completely false last shot of the otherwise fantastic Pickup on South Street.


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