This course will survey the development of American crime fiction with particular attention to the figure of the detective as a focus of social values. The portrayal of professional, private and amateur detectives will be examined. Foundational work of Poe, the influence of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, the "country house" mystery and amateur detectives, the development of the hard-boiled school in writers such as Chandler and Hammett, and the more recent diversification of the genre will be covered. The social, historical and cultural context of each work will be explored. Several novels and some short fiction will be read and students will be asked to view two films.
Goals and Objectives
To achieve a familiarity with the detective fiction genre as it has developed through the 19th and 20th centuries
To gain an understanding of genre fiction as an identifiable literary category.
To learn relevant American history.
To develop an ability to approach literature with an awareness of its techniques.
To become more attentive, analytical and thoughtful readers.
To have an opportunity to become better writers and to engage in collaborative learning.