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Theory and Practice of Classic Detective Fiction

Synopsis

Combining theoretical and practical approaches, this collection of essays explores classic detective fiction from a variety of contemporary viewpoints. Among the diverse perspectives are those which interrogate the way the genre reflects important social and cultural attitudes, contributes to a reader's ability to adapt to the challenges of daily life, and provides alternate takes on the role of the detective as an investigator and arbiter of truth.

Part I looks at the nature of and the audience for detective fiction, as well as at the genre as a literary form. This section includes an inquiry into the role of the detective; an application of object-relations psychology to the genre; and analyses of recent literary criticism positing that traditional detective fiction contained the seeds of its own subversion. Part II applies a variety of theoretical positions to Agatha Christie and her heirs in the British ratiocinative tradition. A concluding essay positions the genre within the middle-class traditions of the novel since its inception in the eighteenth century. Of interest to all scholars and students of detective fiction and British popular culture.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • John G. Cawelti
  • Timothy W. Boyd
  • Carolyn Higbie
  • Timothy R. Prchal
  • Peter Hühn
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Westport, CT
Publication year:
  • 1997