Module Identifier EN34720  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Mr Michael J Smith  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   20 Hours Seminar. 10 x 2 hrs seminar workshops  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment: 2 essays (2,500 words each)100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students should typically be able to:
- demonstrate a broad understanding of the historical development of detective fiction in the twentieth century

- describe and evaluate a variety of theoreticall approaches to the genre

- locate particular works of detective fiction within their historical and cultural contexts

- analyse in detail the handling of language and narrative in particular works of detective fiction, and the ways in which they engage with and relate to the conventions of the genre

Brief description

Literature that deals with crime and detection has a long history ? the Book of Genesis, the Oedipus myth, Hamlet etc. This module looks at the more formalised presentation of crime and its detection since the late nineteenth century; at a self-conscious body of writing with its own developing conventions and generic `laws? (usually laid down only to be ingeniously broken).   The texts are chosen so as to offer an introduction to some of the main styles and sites of crime fiction ? from the country house mysteries of Agatha Christie to the 1990s urban desolation of Ian Rankin?s Inspector Rebus novels ? and to give some sense of the genre?s historical development and its responsiveness to cultural change. Weekly two-hour seminars will be in a variety of formats, often but not always requiring student presentations.



1. Reading Detective Fiction (material to be supplied)

Classic British

2. The Age of the Great Detective: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894)

3. The Golden Age: Agatha Christie, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)

American Noir

4. Hardboiled/Softboiled: Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep (1939)

5. Mind Games: John Franklin Bardin, The Deadly Percheron (1946)

6. Oedipus Walks the Mean Streets: James Ellroy, L.A.Confidential (1994)

Serial Cops

7. Aurelio Zen: Michael Dibdin, Cabal (1992)

8. Inspector Rebus: Ian Rankin, Black and Blue (1997)

9. Wexford: Ruth Rendell, Harm Done (1999)

Besides the stories and novels listed above, students will find the following useful as introductory reading:

Scott McCracken, Pulp: Reading Popular Fiction (Manchester: Manchester UP 1998)
Martin Priestman, Crime Fiction: From Poe to the Present (Plymouth: Northcote House 1998)


This module is at CQFW Level 6