The Roman Noir in Post-War French Culture offers a lively introduction to the post-war French roman noir from a cultural studies perspective. A populist and widely disseminated genre, the French roman noir has suffered from a reputation as a minor genre with its roots in American popular culture. In this study, Claire Gorrara challenges such preconceptions and examines how selected writers have appropriated the roman noir as a critical response to formative
concerns and debates in post-war French society.
Starting with the first truly French roman noir, Leo Malet's 120 rue de la gare (1943) and concluding with Maud Tabachnik's feminist thriller Un ete pourri (1994), Gorrara analyses both texts and film in relation to their specific historical and cultural context. From the heritage of the Second World War and France's wars of decolonisation to the rise of consumer culture and questions of gender and sexual equality, the roman noir operates in dialogue with its
times, mediating social change and transformation with stories of crime, transgression, and marginality. All the novelists studied were published initially in popular collections, such as the Serie noire, but they have been chosen for the innovation of their work and the exciting ways in which they resist tired conventions and offer
new ways of representing social reality.
One of the first English-language studies of this popular genre, The Roman Noir in Post-War French Culture offers much more than close readings of these fascinating texts; it demonstrates the important contribution of the roman noir to the cultural histories of post-war France.