Spring 2023 Undergraduate English Courses

358:253 Introduction to Crime Fiction

01   MTH2   CAC   05395   GOLDSTONE   FH-B1

This course introduces the study of mysteries and detective stories. Crime fiction has been the most popular of all fiction genres for at least the last century, while never fully attaining the honorific status of literature. To study crime fiction is thus not only to study how writers have imagined justice and the law, violence and social order, but also to study the shifting boundaries between what is supposedly mere entertainment and what is supposedly literary art. Students will learn how to analyze a genre both in its own terms and in terms of social and historical developments. We will be doggedly serious about pulpy shoot-em-ups. We will study both genre landmarks and now-forgotten texts, ranging across American, British, and postcolonial Anglophone writers. Students are not expected to guess who did it before the end. There will be extra credit for writing the best noir story about Rutgers life. Readings may include stories or novels by Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Chester Himes, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Ed McBain, P.D. James, and Walter Mosley.