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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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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Public Violence as Private Pathology: Noir Affect in The End of a Primitive

Public Violence as Private Pathology: Noir Affect in The End of a Primitive

Chapter:
(p.59) Chapter 2 Public Violence as Private Pathology: Noir Affect in The End of a Primitive
Source:
Noir Affect
Author(s):

Christopher Breu

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823287802.003.0003

This chapter argues that Chester Himes’s midcentury noir, The End of a Primitive, explores the forms of private violence produced by the repressive public sphere of what he terms the short 1950s. Like many of Himes’s narratives, the novel foregrounds interpersonal antagonisms around race and sex, emphasizing the way in which what is repressed in the public sphere (interracial political struggle but also interracial sex) returns with a vengeance in the private sphere. In attending to the novel’s dramatizing of noir affects, the essay also articulates the value of the negative political and historiographical vision advanced by Himes’s noir narrative.

Keywords:   affect, African American literature, The End of a Primitive, gender, Chester Himes, negativity, noir, race, violence

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