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ENGL 324 (22)

Crime Fiction 2

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English (Arts)
ENGL 324
Thomas Heise

Jan 06 - Pinkerton Detective Agency - I W W (Wobblies) - House UnAmerican Activities Com - Chicago School of Sociology + Robert Park - Read Ch, 10-17 for Tues Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest - died 1961 - served in WW1, but got TB and didn't see combat - after service, he worked as a Pinkerton Detective from 1915-1921 - P.D.A was nationwide: solved crimes and did shady things - they broke up strikes, disrupt unionizing efforts, spy in unions, murdered/attacked union leaders - America has one of the most violent work histories. 1880-1920 is the real hotbed of labor activism and the crushing of it - ch1. page ~7: exposition from Bill Quint, who's an IWW unionizer, one of the most radical unions - OP is very good at looking (not only "operative," but also "optics") > hears accents and features and such - he notices that BQ has a red tile, which means that he's a communist radical. - "the grey man didn't think that I had any right... soul, skin and guts" - Personville is a companytown of one person: one man owns everything; the press, the government, the police, etc - owned lots of politics: Elihu Willsson owned everything; he WAS Personville - implication is that there were people hired to break up the strike - continental op has been called by Willsson, he's not sure why. He may end up working against other Pinkerton agents. - labour action gets broken - now everyone who helped break it is that everyone wants their own piece of the town. they're worse than the union, even though they broke it up - when Hammett was a P.A, he'd been called to Bute, Montana, to disrupt union activities of the IWW, and he was offered 5k to kill a strike leader named frank Little. Hammett refused, and later that night, Little was lynched anyways. - for the rest of his life, he's a champion of civil rights and leftist causes - 1951, he's called in to testify for the House Unamerican Activities Committee - staged, televised hearings on which celebrities are asked to testify to their own political sympathies, and name other people in Hollywood (producers, directors, screenwriters... everyone) who have the wrong sympathies. Hammett refuses to testify and spends 6 months in prison. he's then hounded by the IRS for the rest of his life. - these people were often thought of as criminals. - a bunch of strikes from ~1880-1920 - he writes these books around 1929-1934 Emergence of the Hard-Boiled Novel - the van guard of thought in the 1920s-30s comes out of Chicago (school of sociology; Robert park) - new understanding of urban crime from these people. Now crime is believed to be environmentally determined - before this (late 19th century), the primary belief of where crime came from (a lot of sex crimes and laziness and murder etc) - criminal anthropologist Lombroso: believed that there were innate deficiencies in certain people - it wasn't racist at the time, though it clearly is now - study of facial and cranial structure of certain populations (deformities, reemergence of primal traits) - this means that white Europeans have been bred away from the evolutionary problems >.> - degeneration, culture and the novel (handout) - if you could identify a criminal early, then he'd never commit a crime - but then everyone was given their own characteristics, and then it was all like o.o - Lombroso's not just a racist dude, all of it's been scientifically proven - this is treated
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