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Liberation Noir: Boris Vian and the Série Noire (1)

  • Alistair Rolls
Part of the Crime Files Series book series (CF)

Abstract

David Platten writes that ‘crime fiction is embedded in the French national culture’ (2002: 5). This statement can be read with equal poignancy in reverse: national culture is embedded in French crime fiction. Indeed, one of the principal aims of this book is to investigate the possibility of simultaneously extending and refining the meaning of the term French noir fiction (and, implicitly, to consider its points of contact and departure from ‘French crime fiction’). To this end, it is vital that the classic noir texts of post-war French literature be seen as an integral part of French national culture not in spite of their authors’ status as non-indigenous authors but because of it. Indeed, the incorporation of non-French authors, via translation, into the French noir canon (or a noired French canon) functions as a discrete but telling parallel to the broader impact of American cultural and economic dominance on the French way of life in the second half of the twentieth century.

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Notes

  1. 14.
    When viewed from this perspective, L’Écume des jours is a tale of tragic defeat, and the status of the individual becomes shrouded in ambiguity. The poem, ‘Elle serait là, si lourde’, on the other hand, in which Vian chooses a small bird over a modern train, is a perfect example of his rejection of the tide of modernity in the face of intimate and timeless beauty (Boris Vian, Je voudrais pas crever [Paris: Pauvert, 1962]).Google Scholar

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© Alistair Rolls and Deborah Walker 2009

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  • Alistair Rolls

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