RARA-AVIS: Faith and cynicism hand-in-hand in noir and hard-bolied fiction

From: Harry Joseph Lerner (harry.joseph.lerner@mail.mcgill.ca)
Date: 01 Mar 2009

  • Next message: Allan Guthrie: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Faith and cynicism hand-in-hand in noir and hard-bolied fiction"

    Hello fellow rara-avians,

    In an effort to start a more on-topic discussion, I ask the following question: What are some examples of noir or hard-boiled characters, either in stand-alone novels or series characters, that have an enduring faith in something other than their own personal code of conduct that rather than subvert the usual norish or hard-boiled character traits actually serves to re-inforce them. When I say faith, it is something that need not be restricted to religious belief. It can be entirely secular in nature. The case in point that got me going along this particular train of thought is that of Gash's Lovejoy series. I know I have brought up Lovejoy on this list a few times before without inspiring much dialogue, but I thought it worth another try. Lovejoy, while some of you probably consider him a rather more generic mystery series protagonist, embodies many of the generally agreed upon attributes that collectively describe what we call a noir or hard-bolied character. In Lovejoy's case, the world of antiques is his faith, and his absolute devotion to this world is what sets everyone and everything else apart in a perpetual cloud of jaded cynicism. I'm curious which other authors have tried their hand at this or similar variations on the standard noir or hard-boiled formula. For more details on my take on Lovejoy as a kind of re-evaluation of noir check out Allan Guthrie's NOIR ORIGINALS for an article I wrote not too long ago.

    Thanks in advance for your responses to my question.

    Best, Harry

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