Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG236H1F L0101

ENG236H1F   L0101   T11, R11-1
Detective Fiction
Dr. J. Levine
Office Location: Victoria College Northrop Frye Hall, Room 302

Brief Description of Course: More than most genres of literature studied at the University, detective fiction is a popular form, attractive to many kinds of readers. Why is this the case? What are the conventions of the genre? How did they develop, and how have they changed over time? How might they be reworked by 'serious' writers, writing for a less popular audience? More generally, how does detective fiction help us think about reading and interpretation? We will study a broad selection of works (mainly short novels) that pivot on the figure of the detective and a mystery or secret to be uncovered.

Required Reading: This list is not fixed, but very likely to include Edgar Allan Poe, "The Purloined Letter" and "The Murders on the Rue Morgue"; Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Adventure of a Scandal in Bohemia," "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," and "The Musgrave Ritual"; Agatha Christie, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Berkley Books: Penguin); Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep (Vintage); Ross McDonald, The Underground Man (Vintage); P.D. James, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (Seal Books: Random House), Henning Mankell, Faceless Killers (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard); Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Anchor Canada); Paul Auster, City of Glass (Penguin).

First Three Authors/Texts: Edgar Allen Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie.

Method of Evaluation: In-class assignments, essay, participation, final exam.

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