Re: RARA-AVIS: Historical analysis books...

From: Steve Novak (
Date: 21 Feb 2009

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    Very wise note, especially when it comes to different cultural perceptions of what is an interesting/good/ and what is in a critique
    (what it is supposed to look at, what are the pre-suppositions literary, socio-political,...what is the ideology supporting it...etc...)... As we all know from past arguments/discussions there are very different points of view, very different critical practices at work among Rara-Avians and the fireworks have been light up a few pt¹s note below is very wise and most certainly applies also thoroughly to all critical assesments...beyond the novels themselves...

    I will give a few examples of Œmy own thinking¹ to illustrate and those pertain to books on film noir:

    * Panorama du Film Noir from Borde et Chaumeton is a standard and should be read as such...of course a lot of it is outdated (in terms of critical thinking) but it is Œsolid¹ and historically important anyway...
    * The Dark Side of Film Noir from Foster Hirsh is couched in antiquated, dépassé language and non analytical thinking. It is very useless and the author has republished it many times since 81 with the same simplistic approach.
    * Dreams and Dead Ends-The American Gagster/Crime Film by Jack Shadoian is excellent, very well documented and analysed, filled with solid analytical language, devoid of emotive pseudo psychological overtones. A must.
    * Women in Film Noir, edited by Ann Kaplan from the excellent BFI a very excellent collection of essays that prompt us to think about critical aspects that go well beyond the biographic-historical approach and that belong to a more Œstructured¹ critical approach of the genre...

    Anyway, you get the drift of what I¹m getting at and again the pavement under these critical streets remains very it should in this noir environment...

    Montois, having coffee near his bookcases...

    On 2/20/09 9:19 PM, "jacquesdebierue" <> wrote:

    > --- In <> ,
    > Steve Novak <Cinefrog@...> wrote:
    >> >
    >> > I very strongly support this.
    >> > The remark about Œcollegiate/doctorate puffery¹ is totally uncalled
    > for in a
    >> > literary discussion group, which is what we are.
    >> > We have had this sort of ghettoization remarks before in our many
    > years of
    >> > discussion, so it is best to leave it at that for now.
    >> >
    >> > Montois who happened to go to college here and over there...
    >> >
    > It's much more useful to refer to particular critics and particular
    > books or essays rather than to a diffuse class of "puffs". There are
    > sharp guys and there are thick and sticky guys. Let's not lump them
    > together. And there are bright guys who write in a thick, soupy style
    > but who have really good ideas. It would be a shame to throw out the
    > ideas with the soup.
    > Also, if you read in several different languages, there is an
    > additional problem: the idea of what constitutes good writing in, say,
    > France or Spain, is not at all the same as in the US. Even from the US
    > to England there are notable differences. But if there are good ideas
    > or insights to be had, a bit of an effort might be warranted.
    > Best,
    > pt

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