Supernatural, Gothic, Sensational
Now available in paperback, Maurizio Ascari's study of crime fiction takes a new look at its evolution, drawing on material from the Middle Ages onwards. He explores the connections between revenge tragedies, the gothic, urban mysteries and anarchist fiction, and examines the influence of pseudo-sciences such as mesmerism and criminal anthropology.
A Counter-History of Crime Fiction takes a new look at the evolution of crime fiction, drawing on material from the Middle Ages up to the early twentieth century, when the genre was theoretically defined as detective fiction. Considering 'criminography' as a system of inter-related, even incestuous, sub-genres, Maurizio Ascari explores the connections between modes of literature such as revenge tragedies and providential fictions, the gothic and the ghost story, urban mysteries and anarchist fiction, while taking into account the influence of pseudo-sciences such as mesmerism and criminal anthropology. The result is a fascinating inquiry into the nature of a genre whose formulaic nature has not prevented imaginative, not to say heretical, variations on the themes of crime and detection. Theoretically informed, with an innovative approach to its subject matter, and written in an accessible style, A Counter-History of Crime Fiction - now available in paperback - is essential reading for those researching in, studying, or just intrigued by crime fiction and its development.
Acknowledgements Introduction Revising the Canon of Crime and Detection PART I: SUPERNATURAL AND GOTHIC Detection Before Detection Persecution and Omniscience Victorian Ghosts and Revengers Pseudo-Sciences and the Occult PART II: SENSATIONAL The Language of Auguste Dupin On the Sensational in Literature London as a 'Heart of Darkness' The Rhetoric of Atavism and Degeneration The Age of Formula Fiction Bibliography Index