Re your comment below:
"Noir, as the term is popularly used, relates to a novel in which the protagonist learns the secrets of his personality too late. Atmosphere has really very little to do with it."
Noir, as the term is popularly used, relates to a novel (film, etc.) that has a dark and sinister atmosphere. Atmosphere has everything to do with it.
Look at the wide array of novels published under the Serie Noire line. Look at the vast array of films designated as noir. Are the editors (who, after all, COINED the term) using it incorrectly? Are the huge number of people using the word noir in that sense somehow outside of the mainstream?
Lok up the word "popular."
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