From Surrealism to Less-Exquisite Cadavers: Léo Malet and the Evolution of the French Roman Noir
'Les nouveaux mystères de Paris' (1954-1959), Léo Malet's fifteen-novel detective series inspired by Eugène Sue's nineteenth-century 'feuilleton', almost achieved the goal of setting a mystery in each of the twenty Parisian arrondissements, with Nestor Burma at the center of the action. In Burma, the détective de choc first introduced in 1943 s 120 'rue de la gare', Malet, considered the father of the French 'roman noir', creates a cultural hybrid, bringing literary references and surrealist techniques to a criminal milieu. Michelle Emanuel s groundbreaking study is particularly insightful in its treatment of Malet as a pioneer within the literary genre of the French 'roman noir' while making sure to also focus on his surrealist roots. Against the archetypes of Simenon’s Maigret and Christie’s Poirot, Burma is brash and streetwise, peppering his speech with colorful and evocative slang. As the reader’s tour guide, Burma highlights Paris’s forgotten past while providing insight to the Paris of (his) present, referencing both popular culture and contemporary issue. [Amazon.com]
Editions Rodopi B.V.
French and Francophone Literature
Emanuel, Michelle (Author) and Schulman, Peter (Forward), "From Surrealism to Less-Exquisite Cadavers: Léo Malet and the Evolution of the French Roman Noir" (2006). World Languages and Cultures Faculty Books. 20.