A Literature of Exclamations


Noir Fiction is a literature of affects. It depicts passions, surprise, anguish, despair, and tragedy. Exclamation marks are a  way of expressing and highlighting these  feelings and tensions textually. Orders are shouted, threats are uttered, insults are exchanged. Cruel realisations are made, usually too late. Wrong turns were taken. Fortunes are lost. Lives come to an end.   Exclamation marks, in the San-Antonio novels, stress  the urgency of the plot and the impulsive, ill-tempered nature of the first person narrator. They suggest his lack of restraint. They mark his own accentuation, they force his own tempo. Like a music conductor, the author dictates the rhythm of his score. San-Antonio’s tendency to “over-ponctuate” is manifest.  Exclamation signs can be found both in the narration and in  the dialogues.  They  even find a way into the paratexts, in the titles, including the titles of chapters (Chapter XIII of Du mouron à se faire (1955) is ominously titled :” OH! OH!”). But how can machine- reading a text confirm and help refine this empiric observation made by the reader ? How many times, exactly, does San-Antonio use the exclamation mark in each of his novels ? Are there patterns, is there an evolution?  The following is the data that a computer, reading some novels by San-Antonio will find.  Continue reading