Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Fall 5-11-2011

Major Department or Program



Christopher Leise


Much contemporary American noir involves a critique of greed, capitalism, and official corruption—understandable, considering its roots in the years following the Great Depression. Noir is a fluid genre, born out of cultural anxieties that, still applicable, allow it to adapt to evolving American culture. I will explore the ways in which contemporary reinterpretations of noir as a literary genre subvert and reclaim the genre conventions in order to critique both noir itself and the current era, using Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, Robert Coover’s Noir, Megan Abbott’s The Song Is You, and Mat Johnson’s Incognegro as examples of this mode of genre play.

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Subject Headings

Robert Coover -- Noir, Megan E. Abbott (1971- ) -- Song is you, Thomas Pynchon -- Inherent vice, Mat Johnson -- Incognegro, Literary form -- Noir, Literary form -- Hardboiled fiction, Noir fiction -- Subgenre, Parody in literature, Sex role -- Gender dynamics, Masculinity in literature, Characters and characteristics -- Femme fatale, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2011 -- English Department

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Public Accessible Thesis

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