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Noir Affect$
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Christopher Breu and Elizabeth A. Hatmaker

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780823287802

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823287802.001.0001

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Introduction: Dark Passages

Introduction: Dark Passages

(p.1) Introduction: Dark Passages
Noir Affect

Christopher Breu

Elizabeth A. Hatmaker

Fordham University Press

This chapter makes the case for conceptualizing noir (in various media) in relationship to negative affect. The chapter first charts different accounts of noir, indicating the difficulty that critics have had in defining it. We suggest that the reason for this difficulty is precisely because noir is about negativity and thus eludes any positive attempts at fixing its definition once and for all. While we do produce our own definition of thinking about noir in terms of negative affect, we do not consider it taxonomic or something that clearly defines noir as a genre (indeed, it often fuses with other genres). The chapter also charts a genealogy of negative affect from Freud to Sianne Ngai. It concludes with chapter summaries.

Keywords:   film, negative affect, negativity, noir, popular literature, psychoanalysis, video games

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