Summary Notes on Genre of Crime Fiction

Essay by spudrickCollege, Undergraduate March 2005

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Extension one Summary

What aspects students must consider:

How CF adapted to different eras and cultures

How these adaptations reflect the attitudes and values of these eras and cultures

Why CF arose as a genre

What social and cultural conditions have led to the appeal of CF

The reasons for and validity of generic distinctions

History of CF

Early CF

Edgar Allan Poe wrote 'The Purloined Letter'

'Sensational novels' - use melodramatic techniques to solve mystery

'Case book novels'- short stories focusing on police procedures to solve the crime

Sir Arthur Cannon Doyle creates Sherlock Holmes

Clear conventions.

Eg: disguise central to plot due to police's need to rely on disguise and informal methods of investigation due to their lack of authority of the time and societies dislike with police of the time.

The importance of reconstructing the crime

For this point onwards CF became more popular while some focused on scientific evidence of the crimes, others portrayed crimes that seemed beyond rational explanation, but then eventually explained.

Golden Age of CF

Post WW1-1930's was the period where CF became dramatically more popular. The genre began to diversify \ many new sub-genres were created.

Intuitionist (Cosy CF)

Detective and intrigue are the focus

Atmosphere is crucial

Unrealistic setting and 2 dimensional characters

Detective is divorced from danger of the crime, but assesses all details. Reliance on logic.

Not about life- stereotyped characters, improbable coincidences and being unbelievable.

Normally traditional English dignitary and etiquette was affronted by a violent crime

Agatha Christie

A well-known author of the sub-genre.

Characters always stereotyped, undeveloped and predictable

Makes no attempt to create a believable presentation of real life, as the mystery is the focus

Seems to create almost a world for escapism, as it is so divorced from the real...