From Poe to Auster: Literary Experimentation in the Detective Story Genre
AuthorConnelly, Kelly C.
Committee memberOrvell, Miles
O'Hara, Daniel T.
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/1001
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AbstractTwo dominating lines of criticism regarding the detective novel have perpetuated the misconception that detective fiction before the 1960s was a static and monolithic form unworthy of critical study. First, critics of the traditional detective story have argued that the formulaic nature of the genre is antithetical to innovation and leaves no room for creative exploration. Second, critics of the postmodern detective novel have argued that the first literary experiments with the genre began only with post-World War II authors such as Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino, and Paul Auster. What both sets of critics fail to acknowledge is that the detective fiction genre always has been the locus of a dialectic between formulaic plotting and literary experimentation. In this dissertation, I will examine how each generation of detective story authors has engaged in literary innovation to refresh and renew what has been mistakenly labeled as a sterile and static popular genre.
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