Class Notes (834,567)
Canada (508,607)
ENGL 324 (22)

Crime Fiction 13

6 Pages
Unlock Document

English (Arts)
ENGL 324
Thomas Heise

Feb 15 - thursday reading @ thompson house: 7:30 Kiss Me Deadly - 7 Mike Hammer novels in the 50's - link this back to Red Harvest - the social setting we began to develop in Red Harvest is now grown and matured in this novel - intrusion in to the daily lives of Americans by the federal government - post-war critique of the government/bureaucracy - joining together in a symbiotic relationship of the DoD and corporate America - incestuous and self-sustaining relationship between the public world of the DoD and the private, self- funding world of the corporations - the focus of this book seems to be on the mafia, which is odd - contest between hammer, his friend and the FBI - Hammer doesn't really have much positive to say about the FBI - tension between those three different sites of authority and power - the FBI in particular are emblematic, a representative of the federal government more generally - and the language used to describe the FBI is the same as the language that describes the Mafia - also directed at women’s bodies - displacement of a set of anxieties (scapegoating) - Hammer likes a woman on fire (this is how the novel ends) - the book begins with the murder of Berga Torn - doesn't have the same kind of moral complexities, but there are complexities elsewhere Foucault - in the beginning of the 18th century, in France, we started rehabilitating prisoners instead of just letting them die - we would give them useful skills and instruct them in manners - glass was put up so that you could see then - anything the prisoner did was open for surveillance. there was nothing hidden - thus the prisoners always began to act better because they believed that they were always under social surveillance, so they self-surveyed - this is the same kind of thing as our modern society - any place you look, by the time you hit the 19th century, there's some kind of new dicipline - all aspects of our life are improving in some way or another - private detectives are just too big of a job - this is an example of how we police ourselves - Hammer's anger at the government and its ineffectiveness is a result of the crap job of policing they do - he wants to reinstate the individual kind of policing of crime, where it's one man against everyone, torturing and killing as necessary - anxiety over rising urban crime etc is directed towards the immigrant criminal element - conspiracy theories around communist paranoia - these bodily metaphors as the mafia as a kind of infection are all over the novel - 481: Watch for: how the city's represented, women are represented, the masculinity of men, the conflict between Hammer and the people trying to police the city - parasitic invasion as a metaphor - what kind of values are carried through this? - Hammer's trying to wipe out the parasites (Mafia, which becomes indistinguishable from "being Italian") - woman opens her robe and reveals this horrific body that's been burnt before. in the paranoid logic of the novel, Hammer thinks that these bodies must be wiped out - she's a disgusting mass, and thus she's guilty of something, though not deserving - Shawn McCane's Gumshoe America: he doesn't like Spillane. - there's been a resurgence of Hardboiled fiction in the last 10-20 years - Woody Haught in Pulp Culture: doesn't like Spillane either - "Hammer is a byproduct of Hoover's distorted Imagination" - Jeffery Oryan, Hardboiled America: to liberal intellectuals, Spillane's natural success was an indication of their worst fears - 30 best selling books of America between 1895-1965, and Spillane had seven < he's the James Patterson of the genre - part of the reason for his popularity is that he gives the reader what the reader wants - he doesn't get good reviews, but he doesn't care because he only deigns to give us what we want - success due in part to a structural modification in the publishing industry - they started selling very cheap reprints of classic novels, thus they sold by the millions - he calls himself a very smart merchandizer because he decided to make his own dime store novels - he was one of the first crime novelists to make a killing by moving towards these cheap paperbacks - often marketed to men in the army, since he knew how to market to them, having been one - he knew his title market: he used to pose on the back cover, cradling a bunch of firearms - Kiss Me, Deadly is the first detective novel to reach the best seller list - what's the difference (writing style, sexuality etc) between this and Red Harvest - thinking about these urban settings as alive, and infected and contagious - Hammer doesn't undergo a primal metamorphosis, like the OP - he's bloodthirsty from the beginning, he doesn't need to be converted - for 1952, this novel would have been graphically violent and sexually explicit - Hammer puts his hand on her thigh, and notices that she's not wearing anything underneath - lighting people on fire and gouging out eyes is a relatively new thing - this is also a period of communist witch-hunts - there are man
More Less

Related notes for ENGL 324

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.