ELCS6049 - Noir Fictions
Value: 0.5 course units
Tutor: Dr Lucia Rinaldi
Assessment: 2 assessed essays of 2000 words each.
This module introduces students to visual and written forms of noir
fiction. By exploring a range of representative films and novels, we
will study the development of the noir genre from its inception in the
1920s and 1930s in the United States, to contemporary European outputs.
We will examine this highly codified genre by focussing on conventions,
characterization, setting, themes and, in particular, on stylistic
features. We will engage with theoretical material on noir narratives as
well as criticism surrounding the works analysed.
Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:
- 'The Maltese Falcon' (John Huston, USA, 1941)
- 'Ossessione' (Luchino Visconti, Italy, 1943)
- 'Lift to the Scaffold' ('Ascenseur pour l'échafaud', Louis Malle, France, 1958)
- Raymond Chandler, 'The Big Sleep' (1939) any unabridged edition
- Patrick Modiano, 'Rue des boutiques obscures' (Paris: Gallimard, 1978); 'Missing Person' (Jonathan Cape, 1980; 2nd Ed. David R. Godine, 2004)
- Giorgio Scerbanenco, 'Venere privata' (Milan: Garzanti,  2001); 'A Private Venus' (Hersilia Press, 2012)
Initial Secondary Bibliography:
- Chandler, Raymond: ‘The Simple Art of Murder’  in 'The Art of the Mystery Story'. 'A Collection of Critical Essays', edited by Howard Heycraft (Biblo & Tannen, 1974), pp. 222-237
- Gorrara, Claire, 'The roman noir in post-war French culture: dark fictions' (Oxford University Press, 2003)
- Horsley, Lee, 'The Noir Thriller' (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan; 2nd edition, 2009)
- Mullen, Ann and O'Beirne, Emer (eds.): 'Crime scenes: detective narratives in European culture since 1945' (Amsterdam, Atlanta: Rodopi, 2000)
- Rolls, Alistair and Walker, Deborah: 'French and American noir: dark crossings' (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)
- Spicer, Andrew (ed.): 'European Film Noir' (Manchester University Press, 2007)
- ‘Noir Cityscapes’, special issues 'Romance Studies: Vol. 25 no. 2 & 4' (2007).