Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Noir -- Penzler, Kerry and MRT

From: James Michael Rogers (
Date: 12 Aug 2010

  • Next message: jacquesdebierue: "RARA-AVIS: Re: Noir -- Penzler, Kerry and MRT"

    For the record, it now appears that Kafka thought of his work as comedy and, when he read his stories aloud, would laugh to the point of tears.

    I think of Romeo and Juliet as pretty noir-y. After all, Leonard Bernstein got pretty good mileage out of the rival gang treatment. That's their noirish flaw, the belief against their better judgment that their love will justify and excuse the transgression against their familial loyalties.


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: davezeltserman
      Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 12:18
      Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: Noir -- Penzler, Kerry and MRT

      The Trial is certainly a nightmarish story/parable, but not in my mind noir.


      --- In, "jacquesdebierue" <jacquesdebierue@...> wrote:
    > --- In, "davezeltserman" <Dave.Zeltserman@> wrote:
    > >
    > > Kerry, let's look at what's considered great noir. Walter Huff in Double Indemnity crosses the line with murder, no turning back. Same with Frank and Cora in Postman Always Rings Twice. And every great noir from Jim Thompson from "Hell of a Woman" to "Savage Night". Seymour Shubin's great "Anyone's My Name" has the noir protagonist crossing the line, first betraying his future wife. I can't think of a single book that is thought of as great noir (at least by consensus of the group, and not by Jim!) that doesn't have the noir protagonist creating his own doom by crossing this moral line. OTOH, fiction that has a morally sound protagonist doomed by fate or chance falls strictly as tragedy (unless its satire, parody, etc.).
    > >
    > I am not sure of this. Franz Kafka's Josef K is doomed by... everything, not anything he does in particular. He is trying to take a bearing on a constantly shifting target, he's tenacious but clearly he's fucked from the start, and we know it. It's not tragedy... I think it's noir, squarely.
    > Best,
    > mrt


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