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ENGL 324 (22)

Crime Fiction 1

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English (Arts)
ENGL 324
Thomas Heise

- crime novels aren't just about crime, and in fact that's not even necessarily the focal point - this isn't necessarily an escapist literature - hardboiled detective story in the 20's - Little Caesar is the first one of those ^ written - cities are thought to produce crime because they inspire anonymity - sensory overload - scientists thought that this weakened your moral fibre and physical being - what's happening right now? urban expansion, more cars, prohibition - all of this atmosphere is the background of hard boiled crime fic - new, scientific way of policing. statistics etc is later in the century - in New York and Chicago etc, there is widespread political corruption - Hammett and Chandler = Joyce, Pound, Hemingway etc. - exploration of identity: protagonist is the missing person - crime stories are about experiencing meaning - Auster - imposition of meaning - all these novels are crime novels, but they're not all the same (different perspectives) - classic detective story valorizes reason and deduction - Sayers, Van Dine, Haut, Doyle, Haycraft - mysterious murder, single setting, limited cast of characters -> ends when the protagonist unmasks the killer - lesson: evil doesn't come from social inadequacy, but from antisocial - cat and mouse game between reader and writer as well as killer and detective - no love interest/femme fatale - crime has to be murder - killer has to be in the same social group as other suspects - every step must be logical - like a chess game - infinite combinations, but it must fit the exact guideline - no madness, no supernatural -> must fit together - detective himself can't commit the crime, killer must be mentioned early on, he can't know who it is from the beginning (no unaccountable intuition, like HBD) - like clue - law and order triumph - HB begins with Hammett ("Pulp Fiction" but not actually. just like it) - loosening of sexual and moral values - Black Mask -> most important piece of pulp fiction, and Hammett published in that too - genre responds to a whole different genre of social reality than classic - a product of a struggle by popular crime writers to adapt to a new condition, a new way of feeling - now the assumption is not that hu
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