The Cambridge Companion to American Crime Fiction

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From the execution sermons of the Colonial era to television programs like The Wire and The Sopranos, crime writing has played an important role in American culture. Its ability to register fear, desire and anxiety has made it a popular genre with a wide audience. These new essays, written for students as well as readers of crime fiction, demonstrate the very best in contemporary scholarship and challenge long-established notions of the development of the detective novel. Each chapter covers a sub-genre, from ‘true crime' to hard-boiled novels, illustrating the ways in which ‘popular' and ‘high' literary genres influence and shape each other. With a chronology and guide to further reading, the Companion is a helpful guide for students of American literature and readers of crime fiction.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Fourteen essays by academics include some valuable history and analysis..."
-John L. Breen

..."the Companion succeeds in presenting the richness and diversity of works that form the genre, and the many ways in which crime fiction remains enormously relevant to the popular cultures of today."
-Tarik Abdel-Monem,University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521136068
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Series: Cambridge Companions to Literature Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 486,282
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Ross Nickerson is Associate Professor of American Studies at Emory University. She is the author of The Web of Iniquity: Early Women Writers of Detective Fiction (1998) and she has edited two volumes of reprinted novels from early detective fiction: Anna Katharine Green, Lost Man's Lane and that Affair Next Door and Metta Victor, The Dead Letter and the Figure Eight (both 2003). She has also received the 2011 George N. Dove Award for Contributions to the Study of Crime Fiction.

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Table of Contents

Notes on contributors; 1. Introduction Catherine Ross Nickerson; 2. Early crime writing Sara Crosby; 3. Poe and the origins of detective fiction Stephen Rachman; 4. Women writers before 1960 Catherine Ross Nickerson; 5. The hard-boiled novel Sean McCann; 6. The American Roman Noir Andrew Pepper; 7. Teenage detectives and teenage delinquents Ilana Nash; 8. The American spy novel David Seed; 9. Police procedurals in literature and on television Eddy Von Mueller; 10. Mafia stories and the US gangster Fred L. Gardaphe; 11. True crime Laura Browder; 12. Race and American crime fiction Maureen T. Reddy; 13. Feminist crime fiction Margaret Kinsman; 14. Crime and post-modern fiction Susan Elizabeth Sweeney; American crime fiction: a chronology; Guide to reading; Index.

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