Scribner Seminar Program
Detective Fictions, Dark Designs
Instructor(s): John Anzalone, Foreign Languages and Literatures (F05 & F09), Ruth
Copans, College Librarian (F05)
Description: An introduction to the interdisciplinary study of crime fiction. Students will examine crime fiction's history and evolution, particularly with regard to the genre's status as popular literature. Simultaneously, we will study its sociological dimension, which makes of detective fiction the morally ambiguous site for the representation of criminals and of behavioral taboos. Finally, we will experience its cross-cultural dimension, with London and Los Angeles serving as geographical counterpoints for comparing British and American examples of the genre. Beginning with the invention of the armchair detective in several tales by Edgar Allen Poe, we will study sleuths and gumshoes in writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Josephine Tey, Dorothy Sayers, Raymond Chandler, and Michael Connelly; and in films such as Chinatown, L.A. Confidential, and The Usual Suspects.