Monday, October 14, 2013

Clues 31.2: Collins, Harvey, Highsmith, Parker, South African and Spanish crime fiction.

Clues 31.2 has been published. The following is a summary of the contents (with links on the article titles). To order the issue or subscribe to Clues, visit this Web page or download the subscription flyer.

Introduction: Journeys through Crime, Time, and Space. JANICE M. ALLAN

From Enigmas to Emotions: The Twentieth-Century Canonization of Crime Fiction. MAURIZIO ASCARI (Univ of Bologna). Starting from the early-twentieth-century criticism of the “clue-puzzle” tradition, the author investigates the progressive return of emotions to the scene of both creative and critical crime writing. The analysis encompasses aspects of the twentieth-century canonization of crime fiction, dispelling some lingering critical prejudices and presenting the genre as complex.

Enlightenment, Counter-Enlightenment: Detection, Reason, and Genius in Tales of Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle. GREG SEVIK (Cayuga Community College, NY). The author explores the complex relationship between detective fiction and traditions of the Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment, including romanticism. Given this background, he argues that detective stories by Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle highlight the productive tension within Western reason among rule-bound rationality, critical reflection, and the inexplicability of genius.

True Crime in Bermondsey: Representations of Maria Manning. ANNA KAY (Univ of Melbourne). The author examines the literary representations of the nineteenth-century murderess Maria Manning, arguing that the frequently complex and contradictory images that emerged of Manning illuminate broader insights into Victorian conceptions of gender, sexuality, and criminality.

Wilkie Collins’s The Law and the Lady and Feminine Reason:
“Quite incredible, and nevertheless quite true!” TABITHA SPARKS (McGill Univ, Canada). The author examines Collins’s 1875 detective novel The Law and the Lady as a site of conflict between institutional, legal power and feminine resistance to it, with a disabled character upsetting the rigid gender and social norms that underwrite the novel’s central mystery.

“What we call civilization”: Raymond Chandler’s Geographic Critique of Socioeconomic Inequalities in the Philip Marlowe Novels—A Barthesian Reading. PETER CHOMKO. In his Philip Marlowe novels, Raymond Chandler subverts the formulaic narrative structure common to much mainstream crime fiction and, in doing so, opens up to the popular imagination new ways of deconstructing many mid-century myths about Los Angeles. Unlike the fictional detectives who preceded him, Marlowe does not solve crimes so much as expose them, bringing to light the corrupt superstructure of inequality and injustice that shapes—and is shaped by—the Los Angeles landscape.

Liminality and Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley. PETER MESSENT (Univ of Nottingham, UK). The author examines Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley to illustrate the role of liminality in her text. Highsmith explores the relationship among violent crime, deception, and the free-floating nature of subjectivity to foreground the ability to move between selves. Such transitions destabilize any notion of the grounded self and, moreover, radically challenge the understanding of the meaning of
civilization and culture.
Literary Allusions in Robert B. Parker’s Spenser Series. MARTY S. KNEPPER (Morningside College, IA). Although Robert B. Parker and his private-eye hero Spenser had no great love of academics, they both loved reading. The first-person narrative and dialogue in the Spenser series display a broad range of literary references, serving various artistic purposes and giving pleasure to book-loving readers. (This article includes an appendix that lists appearances of literary allusions in the Spenser series)

Masochism and the Novela Negra: The Case of Francisco González Ledesma. SHELLEY GODSLAND (Univ of Birmingham, UK). The author argues that the novella negra exposes and explores the masochism of its tough male investigator, as did its predecessor, the American hard-boiled detective. In Expediente Barcelona (1983) by Francisco González Ledesma, the protagonist’s masochistic attitudes and behaviors are illuminated through discussion of Freudian and other thinking on masochism.

“There’s nothing people won’t do to one another, if the circumstances are right”: Male Rape and the Politics of Representation in John Harvey’s Police Procedural Easy Meat. CHARLOTTE BEYER (Univ of Gloucestershire, UK). The author discusses portrayals of male rape and in John Harvey’s police procedural novel Easy Meat(1996), exploring how the novel interrogates the representation of sexual crime, male rape, and masculinity in crime fiction. By examining Harvey’s portrayal of masculinity and sexuality in Easy Meat, the author explores the ways in which crime fiction problematizes the politics of representing sexual crime.

Crime Fiction and the Armchair Traveler: The Case of Martin Walker’s Bruno Courrèges Series. JOHN SCAGGS (Southwestern College, KS). The defining characteristic of Martin Walker’s Bruno Courrèges novels is their detailed sense of place. The author examines how the sense of place is created in the novels and suggests that, rather than merely being a simple backdrop against which the plots of the novels unfold, it is an integral part of their themes and narrative structures.

“You Think It’s Possible to Fix Broken Things?”: Terror in the South African Crime Fiction of Margie Orford and Jassy Mackenzie. MARLA HARRIS. Drawing on the work of Robert J. C. Young, the author argues that Jassy Mackenzie and Margie Orford’s crime novels of post–apartheid South Africa offer coping strategies in the face of inexplicable violence. As they fundamentally are about living with terror and terrorism, they resonate with contemporary American readers.

Saturo Saito. Detective Fiction and the Rise of the Japanese Novel, 1880–1930. Elizabeth Blakesley

Michael Dirda. On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling. Natalie Hevener Kaufman

Melissa Schaub. Middlebrow Feminism in Classic British Detective Fiction: The Female Gentleman. Rosemary Erickson Johnsen

Peter Baker and Deborah Shaller, eds. Detecting Detection: International Perspectives on the Uses of a Plot. Mimosa Summers Stephenson

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