March 1-4, 2011, Clute had the honor of being a contributor to one of the very best blogs out there: The Abbott Gran Olde Tyme Medicine Show, run by hard-boiled authors Megan Abbott and Sara Gran. (If you haven't checked out Abbott's Queenpin or Gran's Dope then you've missed two of the greatest throwback, hard-boiled novels of all time.) Clute penned reflections on three topics: how a new approach to the study of noir helped he and Edwards to appreciate noir's extreme self-consciousness and quirky humor; the particular brand of existential philosophy that underpins films noir; what happened when noir spread out across other film cultures and genres (and how to distinguish a noir-styled film from a true noir or neo-noir). These reflections serve as a rudimentary introduction to arguments advanced by Clute and Edwards in their new book The Maltese Touch of Evil: Film Noir and Potential Literature, which embraces "constraint" (as defined by the literary group Oulipo, or "Workshop of Potential Literature") as a means to find hidden potentials in film noir. In keeping with the spirit of this project, each of the blog entries was also written under constraint: Clute allowed himself exactly one hour to write and ten minutes to edit.
To read these posts, click here