Mystery fiction (aka detective or crime fiction) of the early 20th century is often divided into British soft-boiled whodunnits and American hard-boiled detective fiction. Both these types of literature became enormously popular across social strata. They also generated (and continue to generate) material for film and television.
Indeed, the interwar period between World War I and World War II is known as the Golden Age of soft-boiled mystery writers: Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham, and Ngaio Marsh. The same period became the era of film noir, drawing on the hard-boiled detective novels of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.
In this class, we will read and discuss selected examples of both modes in the context of the interwar and war periods, which will allow us to explore the role of popular culture in both exposing and containing societal anxieties and aspirations.
Five Sessions: $205/$184.50. Led by Elzbieta Foeller-Pituch