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Crime and American Fiction

ENGL 263.301
instructor(s):
fulfills requirements:
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major

This course will explore the complex role of crime in 20th century American fiction. We will look primarily at the genre of crime fiction and literary novels in which crime plays a central role, but will also consider the Hollywood film noir and contemporary police procedural television shows. We will address a variety of topics and questions including the aesthetics and politics of crime, the relationship between representations of crime and crime in reality, the social, moral, and ethical dimensions of crime, and why are both writers and audiences so drawn to narratives of violence and criminal behavior? Readings may include: Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, James Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, Richard Wright’s Native Son, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men, and Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. Film and television programs may include: Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil, Spike Lee's Clockers, David Cronenberg’s History of Violence, and episodes of CSI: and Law and Order.

e Hollywood film noir and contemporary police procedural television shows. We will address a variety of topics and questions including the aesthetics and politics of crime, the relationship between representations of crime and crime in reality, the social, moral, and ethical dimensions of crime, and why are both writers and audiences so drawn to narratives of violence and criminal behavior? Readings may include: Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, James Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, Richard Wright’s Native Son, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men, and Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. Film and television programs may include: Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil, Spike Lee's Clockers, David Cronenberg’s History of Violence, and episodes of CSI: and Law and Order.