Cornell Woolrich, The black path of fear, The Crime Club, Doubleday, Doran, 1944
The Big data approach and instruments, which inform this blog, do not only allow to study globally a population of popular writers who, in an international effort and over many decades invented Crime fiction. It also helps to envision the books they produced in a material way, in their condition as objects, commodities and fetishes. The juxtaposition of hundreds of book covers from different countries reveals their semiotics, with their recurring motifs and their serial patterns. Books covers can thus be read as sites where developments in international cultural industries, the specialisation of narrative genres, the publishers’ distinctive strategies and the evolution of popular representations and tastes all intersect. The available metadata linked with each cover also recalls that Crime Fiction series fostered some of the past century’s greatest artists. This post displays a very short selection of some Crime Fiction cover art, as milestones in a cultural history of the international imagination of crime, and its visualisation.