American Crime Fiction: A Cultural History of Nobrow by Peter Swirski PDF

By Peter Swirski

ISBN-10: 3319301071

ISBN-13: 9783319301075

ISBN-10: 331930108X

ISBN-13: 9783319301082

Peter Swirski seems at American crime fiction as an artform that expresses and displays the social and aesthetic values of its authors and readers. As such he records the manifold ways that such authorship and readership are an issue of knowledgeable literary selection and never of cultural brainwashing or declining literary criteria. Asking, in influence, a sequence of questions on the character of style fiction as artwork, successive chapters examine American crime writers whose careers throw gentle at the dangers and rewards of nobrow site visitors among renowned types and intellectual aesthetics: Dashiell Hammett, John Grisham, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Chandler, Ed McBain, Nelson DeMille, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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These colossal numbers dwarfed both the king of horror Stephen King and the queen of romance Danielle Steele, who came in second and third with thirty-eight and thirty-seven million respectively. 3 The point of all this is not, of course, that bestsellers are invariably best writers. Most, as a matter of fact, go in one eye and out the other and are designed to do so. But, like a knockout blonde with a smoking gun, the legal procedural warrants close attention. From the exponential rise of the “I’ll sue you” mentality to the right to be Mirandized and have an 32 P.

Champions of the form, such as Charles Reade, Mary Braddon, Wilkie Collins, and Ellen Wood routinely destabilized the very conventions they employed with consummate skill. 23 This is not to deny that, like any cultural product, popular fiction is not immune to being infiltrated by latent ideological content that can pacify consumers by obscuring the top-heavy character of power hierarchy in society. In less highbrow terms, we are talking here about preempting political dissent or just social discontent by dealing cultural opium to the masses.

In the classic detective story murder is an aberration from the social norm (remote locales reinforce the notion that crime can be solved without affecting society). Red Harvest is set in the heartland of America, but it is a heart so degenerate that organized crime and a harvest of death are no news to anyone. In line with Hammett’s loosely Marxist leanings, some elements of Red Harvest could be construed as an indictment of capitalist society. On the other hand, the novel advances no real platform for social reform or for raising political consciousness.

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American Crime Fiction: A Cultural History of Nobrow Literature as Art by Peter Swirski


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