CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS—EDITED COLLECTION Proposal/abstract deadline: November 1, 2020
Final essays due: April 2021 The Crossroads of Crime Writing: Historical, Sociological and Cultural Contexts/ Intersections/ Perspectives
This volume, which will be proposed to a leading independent academic publisher, seeks to explore the implications of crime writing in its various narrative forms through essays which situate orientations fictional and non-fictional, past and present in relation to public perspectives. Just as real crime has served as inspiration for fictional accounts, Kieran Dolin reminds us in Fiction and the Law (Cambridge Press, 2009) that crime literature has long influenced popular understanding of social institutions as well. And so, we are not only interested in offering a comprehensive overview of crime writing in its diverse forms, but in examining how crime writing simultaneously reflects temporal biases and influences popular conceptions of politics, the law, psychology, the self, and more. Over a century ago, in his examination The Sensational in Modern English Fiction (1919), Walter Clarke Phillips declared, “Whatever sources of appeal may come or go, there is one which from the very structure of modern democratic society seldom bids for applause unheeded — that is, the appeal to fear” (2). And, it is to this appeal that we owe the abundance of crime writing at our disposal— a trove of mystery that undoubtedly fascinates in its ability to entertain while safely reflecting the ugliest truths about ourselves and the societies in which we live. It is in this vein that Catherine Nickerson asserts in “Murder as Social Criticism,” that crime fiction “is deeply enmeshed with most of the thornier problems of the Victorian, modern, and postmodern eras, including gender roles and privileges, racial prejudice and the formation of racial consciousness, the significance and morality of wealth and capital, and the conflicting demands of privacy and social control” (American Literary History). And, this is just as true of Gothic and Victorian Sensation novels which generally expose social anxieties in relation to cultural, institutional and individual identities as it is of the ever-growing contemporary genre of True Crime which typically concentrates “upon certain events and figures as kinds of cultural flashpoints, and it also has a long history, from colonial narratives to early twentieth-century pulp fiction” (Rosalind Smith, “Dark Places: True Crime Writing in Australia”).
We invite essays that provide new insights into the works of significant authors, series or sub-genres of crime literature that we once thought we knew and/ or examine the intersections of the real and fictional within the broader genre of Crime Writing in meaningful ways. Contributors are encouraged to dissect the historical, cultural, and/ or sociological significance of crime fiction, as well as examine how such works influence true crime writing or vice versa.
Possible essay topics could include (but are not limited to) the following: •The History/Genesis of Mystery/Crime Writing and/or its Structure or Tenets •The Nineteenth-Century Police Force and the Detective Novel •Intersections between the Real and Fictional in Historical Crime Novels •British Aesthetic vs. American Hardboiled Crime •The Dime Novel and/or Early Hardboiled Fiction •The Police Procedural and Popular Culture •Historical Mystery as a Means of Contextualizing the Current •Crime Writing and Gender Roles •Racial Consciousness and Detection •Socio-economics of Crime and Detection •Socio-political Readings of the Gentleman Detective and/or Hardboiled Detective •Cross-Dressing and/or Queering in Mysteries •LGBTQ+ Portrayals in Mysteries •Intersections between Detective Film and Literature •Exploring Law through Literature/ Legal Thrillers •Lawyers and the Courtroom Drama •The Serial Killer and Contemporary Culture •Holmesian Influence/Pervasiveness in Western Culture •American Realism in Crime Writing •Capers/The Criminal Mind •Crime Fiction’s Influence on Journalistic Reporting/True Crime •(Neo)Gothic or (Neo)Victorian Sensation Novels