Re: "Grimly Existential" as Opposed to "Noir" (Was: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Noir Comic Book)

From: Patrick King (
Date: 11 Nov 2008

  • Next message: Patrick King: "Re: "Grimly Existential" as Opposed to "Noir" (Was: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Noir Comic Book)"

    yeah, me too. it's a worldview. a grimly existential one. although

    "grimly" and "existential" is kind of redundant, isn't it? can one be joyfully existential? philosophy wonks, weigh in.


    Yes, absolutely. Henry Miller was joyfully existential as was Charles Bukowski, Nelson Algren, Erskine Caldwell, and, in his more serious work, Norman Mailer. Miller's mistress, Anais Nin, was also joyfully existential in her fictional work. Jean Rhys, on the other hand, was darkly existential in her work without being noir, as was James T. Farrell. The thing that separates works that are noir from existential work is not so much crime as melodrama. Relatively few people actually plan murders to resolve problems. Had Frank and Cora simply run off together and had to call Nick to bail them out of trouble, that too might have been a good story but not the noir tale we know as THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE. I am sure there are grimly realistic tales of crime and murder that are not specifically noir because they don't contain melodrama. IN COLD BLOOD comes to mind.

    Patrick King



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