This Subject Includes

  • Course No: HS 216
  • Course: B.Tech
  • Semester: V
  • Title: Investigating Justice in Detective Fiction
  • Stream: English
  • Description:

    Detective fiction enacts a serious threat to the established social order of a given community only to contain it through the ritualistic rigour of the investigative process. But whose justice is it that the detective story seeks to establish? In classic examples, the social order that is reaffirmed by the narrative�s end is that of the dominant ideology, which is upheld as universal and normative. The classic formula, however, has been systematically manipulated by its founders just as it has been consistently challenged by recent writers of the form and this course engages with both the normative and the subversive in such genre fiction. This reading-intensive course studies the major generic variations of detective fiction written for mature readers through socio-political perspectives, questioning the meaning of justice when it is problematised by race, class, gender and historicity. Select classic and contemporary texts are read in juxtaposition with theoretical approaches.Course Content:Concepts and origins: popular literature, pulp fiction, crime fiction, detective fiction, justice as philosophical and politico-legal category, rise of the modern police force; Sub-genres and meta-genres: murder mystery, golden age mystery, hardboiled/noir thriller, police procedural, conspiracy/spy thriller, serial murder, Nordic noir, feminist detectives, ethnic/postcolonial detectives, postmodern/anti detective fiction; Major authors: Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins, Rudyard Kipling, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, G. K. Chesterton, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, Ruth Rendell, Sarah Paretsky, Sue Grafton, Umberto Eco, Jorge Luis Borges, Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, Alexander McCall Smith, Stieg Larsson, Keigo Higashino, Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling), Tarquin Hall; Justice as problematised by sub-generic formulations of the detective narrative; Justice and the outsider: marginality, difference, borders, enclosures; the postmodern detective novel and the problem of justice.

  • Text:

    Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None (first published 1939), any edition.^$^Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, "The Menagerie," in Sreejata Guha trans. The Glass Menagerie and Other Byomkesh Bakshi Stories (New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2006). First published in Bengali in 1953.^$^Keigo Higashino, The Devotion of Suspect X, trans. Alexander O. Smith (New York: St Martin's Press and London: Little, Brown, 2011). First published in Chinese in 2005.^$^Tarquin Hall, The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken (London: Simon and Schuster, 2012)^$^Robert Galbraith (pseud.), The Silkworm (London: Little, Brown, 2014)

  • Course References:

    Jerome H. Delamater and Ruth Prigozy eds., Theory and Practice of Classic Detective Fiction (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997)^$^Richard J. Bleiler, Reference Guide to Mystery and Detective Fiction (Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited Inc.1999)