Home > Research > Projects > Blackwell Companion to Crime Fiction
View graph of relations

Blackwell Companion to Crime Fiction

Project: Non-funded ProjectProjects


The co-editors of the Blackwell Companion are Charles J. Rzepka, Boston University, and Lee Horsley, Lancaster University. This one-volume overview of crime fiction and film will be 280,000 words long, and will address a wide range of issues relating to what is now one of the most important popular genres for academic literary study and teaching. It has long been, and with the rapid globalization of Western culture and institutions it remains, intimately representative of a post-Enlightenment age of bureaucratized law enforcement, professional specialization, massive urbanization and conurbation, alienation and discontent among groups marginalized by capital accumulation and exploitation, and the universal valorization of individual autonomy. The disciplinary affiliations of crime fiction study are numerous: history of science and the science of history, philosophy of science, medicine, law, print technology and distribution, mass media and cultural studies, gender theory, narratology, constructions of race, colonial and post-colonial studies, political economy, class-relations, psychoanalysis, and religion, as well as more obvious connections to forensics and criminology.

The very ubiquity of the genre of crime in popular culture tends to blind us to its central role as an engine of Western cultural self-construction and authorization. The Blackwell Companion will include a substantial introductory section on the history of the genre from the Newgate novels on, together with discussions of Criticism and Theory, Crime and the Mass Media, "High" and "Low" treatments of crime. The volume's detailed chapters will include: The Newgate novel and the Police Casebook; Nineteenth-century popular crime fiction; The "Classical" model of the Golden Age; The "Hard-Boiled" Genre; The roman policier and police procedural; Gangs and Mobs; Noir and the psycho-thriller; Crime on Film; Feminist crime and female PIs and sleuths; Afro-American detection and crime fiction; Ethnic Postcolonial Crime and Detection; Crime Writing in Languages other than English; Crime and the Gothic; Crime and the Spy genre; Historical Crime and Detection; Crime, Forensics, and Modern Science; Crime in Comics and the Graphic Novel; Character Types: Pursuers, Pursued, and Victims; Crime and Detective Literature for Young Readers; True Crime; Crime and Science Fiction; and Postmodern and Metaphysical Detection, plus an 'artists at work' section that will offer analyses of some of the most influential crime writers and filmmakers.