This course introduces students to the study of narrative through crime stories, and it will offer an overview of English-language crime and detective fiction over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Paying close attention to the self-reflexive quality of crime fiction and the detective’s resemblance to the reader of texts, the course will use this reflexivity as a means to reflect on our own perception and analysis. Reading materials will include early detective stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent, essays like Thomas De Quincey’s “Of Murder Considered as one of the Fine Arts,” and some avant-garde art that draws upon the aesthetics of crime, among other materials.
- Detective story and literary narrative
- Reading and interpretation
- High culture and mass culture
- Plot, setting, action, motive, and emotion
Murder on the Orient Express (1934), Agatha Christie
The Secret Agent (1907), Joseph Conrad
All other readings will be available on Moodle and/or in handouts.
This course aims to help students develop perceptive and interpretive skills through close engagement with the operation of those skills in English-language crime fiction over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It will also provide an advanced introduction to literary analysis and argumentation to prepare students for more advanced course offerings in English Studies.
We will meet for a 2-hour session on Tuesdays 4.30-6.20 p.m. every week. The two hours will consist of a lecture and group exercises. We will form 2 groups for tutorials on Fridays 5:30-6:20 p.m., and each group will meet in alternate weeks. In tutorials, we will focus on difficult ideas and concepts in lectures and do some writing exercises. Tutorial sessions will begin in the week after the add/drop period.
Attendance and Class Participation – 20 percent
Term Paper 1 – 35 percent
Term Paper 2 – 45 percent