Worlding Crime Fiction: From the National to the Global


CFP: ACLA conference (Utrecht, 6-9 July 2017)

Since Raymond Chandler published the “Simple Art of Murder” (1944), a distinction has been made between the worldliness of the American hardboiled tradition (“It’s not a very fragrant world, but it’s the world you live in,” Chandler said of Hammett’s fiction) and the artificial, unrealistic and detached “Cheesecake Manor” of the classic detective novel. Moreover, there is a tendency in crime fiction studies to distinguish between the Anglo-American practice of crime writing and specific national crime traditions, the study of which has focused on how national crime fiction texts differ from the universalising Anglo-American norm. Both these distinctions have traditionally resulted in nation-centric readings of the genre as it has developed in specific countries and cultures.
This seminar seeks to further develop our understanding of this global genre that began with “Crime Fiction as World Literature” (ACLA 2015) and “Translating Crime: Production, Transformation and Reception” (ACLA 2016). To this end, we invite contributions that attempt to “world” the crime genre (Kadir 2004), to explore the genre’s worldliness within, but also beyond, specific national traditions.
The seminar explores three main ideas:

1)   The “presence of the world within the nation” (Damrosch 2015) – the ways in which seemingly nationally-bounded novels engage with the world beyond the nation in which they originate

2)   Worlding classic detective fiction – to what degree is Chandler’s reading accurate? Does it hold when this sub-genre is taken up by authors writing outside the British-American norm, either in languages other than English or writers from peripheral English (Australia, Canada, Ghana, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, etc.) contexts.

3)   The relationship between readers and international texts. How do readers experience the world of crime fiction when reading from afar? How important is “the locus where the fixed foot of the compass that describes the globalizing circumscription is placed” (Kadir 2)? In what ways does a global consciousness emerge through the interaction between readers and international texts? Is the location of the reader as important as the origin of the text?

Potential participants are encouraged to contact the organisers before submitting abstracts through the ACLA portal.

Seminar Organisers:

Stewart King, Monash University:<>

Jesper Gulddal, University of Newcastle:<>

Alistair Rolls, University of Newcastle:<>

Deadline for abstracts is 11:59 PM Pacific Time on 23rd September.

Dr Stewart King

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