Noir Strangulation (2): Amélie Nothomb and Intertextuality

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


Chapter 4 showed how the motif of strangulation and the concept of literary heredity are intimately related in French noir fiction. In this light, an understanding of the heavily intertextual nature of the early French noir novel can empower the reader to reread texts from the French literary canon. This chapter continues the comparative reading of Vernon Sullivan’s J’irai cracher sur vos tombes [I Spit on Your Graves] and Terry Stewart’s La Mort et l’ange [Death and the Angel], placing greater emphasis on reader-based intertextual interpretation and further developing the concept of using a text to return to, and renegotiate, a chronological predecessor. While keeping in mind the importance in noir fiction of influence and consciously manipulated cross-cultural exchange between novels, an intertextual analysis allows us to read against the grain of history.


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  1. 1.
    As a tale told from the perspective of the criminal, J’irai cracher sur vos tombes can be compared to works such as Horace McCoy’s Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1948) (published in the Série Noire in 1949 as Adieu la vie, adieu l’amour) and the works of Boileau-Narcejac (although their narrators tend to be both criminal and victim).Google Scholar

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© Alistair Rolls and Deborah Walker 2009

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  • Alistair Rolls

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