The International Crime Fiction Research Group is glad to present a new online exhibition hosted on the Omeka-based online database “Visualising Crime Fiction,” sponsored by the AHRC (the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council) and the Universities of Belfast, Limoges, and Debrecen, in partnership with the Bilipo. A Brief History of Crime Fiction in Greece was authored by Nikos Filippaios, currently a PhD student at the University of Ioannina, and provides a concise outline of the development of the genre in Greece, with particular attention to the impact of international crime fiction on the local creative industries.
Filippaios starts his overview by stressing the success of the earliest translations of modern popular fiction that arrived from Western Europe in the second half of the 19th century. He then highlights the key transformations of crime narratives in Greece throughout the 20th century, particularly up to the 1980’s, when a new generation of local writers started to use the genre to investigate the troubled national history during the post-war era.
The exhibition is structured in four sections, each dealing with a specific historical moment: Continue reading
With thanks to Benoît Tadié
Jef de Wulf (Publisher’s advertisement for the Luc Ferran Series, Editions de l’Arabesque, 1958-1969)
Until the 21st of March, Queen’s University Library will host an exhibition on classic Crime Fiction, Spy Thrillers and Suspense Series in France. The exhibition showcases some of the 1,500 Crime Fiction books in the French language, which have been recently added to the collections, having recently been donated to the Library by the Paris-based Bibliothèque des Littératures policières (BILIPO) and other partners in the project “Visualising European Crime Fiction”. This project, led by Dr Dominique Jeannerod (School of Modern Languages) together with colleagues in the ICRH Research Group, International Crime Fiction was awarded a grant by the AHRC, as part of the Big Data in the Arts and Humanities Framework (2014-2015)
The project’s chief task was to develop innovative digital methods with which to bibliographically record (database) and visually present (Graphs, Maps, Dataviz) the innumerable volumes of Crime Fiction published across Europe since the early 20th Century. The aim in developing such new digital instruments was to rethink the significance of popular culture and its dissemination in a globalised world. It was also to reconsider the role of crime fiction in a transnational, cultural and literary context. Continue reading
Murder, death, and mystery… Well, who would have guessed? Here is the count of the top six words used in the titles of the 66 mystery novels by Agatha Christie, between 1920 and 1976 Continue reading
San-Antonio in the Spécial Police Series (1950-1972, 79 titles)
(Click to enlarge)
San-Antonio Series (1972-1999, 96 Titles) Continue reading
Georges Simenon, On the Danger Line, NY, Armed Services Editions, No 21, 1943
American soldiers serving overseas during WWII were offered a rich selection of compact paperbacks. Destined to help them dodge the tedium of war, they were designed to fit in their pockets. The Armed Services Editions books were printed at a cost of 6 cents a volume and distributed for free from 1943 to 1947. This is a landmark in the history of mass market reading. The mention on all but a handful of the covers that “This is the Complete Book—Not a Digest” is a reminder that paperbacks were at the time still new, and that readers had to be reassured that these were not abridged or condensed books. 123 million books were printed as part of this programme, representing 1,227 different titles. Only a minority of these titles were Crime Fiction. The purpose of the programme was educational as much as recreational. Continue reading
The success of Mondadori’s Gialli, Supergiallo and Gialli Economici series soon inspired imitators in Italy (Nerbini in Florence, with I romanzi del disco Giallo from 1940 to 1943 (53 vol published), or Garzani , Pagotto and Ponzoni) and it lead to legal wrangles : can a publisher copyright a colour, in this case the colour yellow ? Certainly the colour was distinctive for Mondarori’s books, but could the publisher claim exclusive rights on it and prevent its competitor from using it? A Spanish publisher, Maucci, in Barcelona, was more straightforward : he acquired the rights of some of the books published as Gialli by Mondadori, translating them and others into Spanish and publishing them there under the iconic yellow colour and with the unambiguous title : Coleccion Amarilla (yellow series). Italian authors of Gialli were translated there, and thus internationalised. Also, the artwork on the Spanish covers reproduced or followed the illustrations on the Italian covers. 51 novels were thus published between 1941 and 1951.
Sax Rohmer, El Diabolico Doctor (Biblioteca Oro, 35, 1935)
It was not long before a Spanish publisher introduced the 1920’s fashion of Yellow Crime Fiction booklets to Spain. Only a few years after Mondadori in Italy, the Barcelona publisher Molino proposed in 1933 (the year of the publishing house’s creation), a series of Crime Fiction pulps with yellow covers in its series Biblioteca Oro. Like the Italian series, this Spanish counterpart would become a landmark series, publishing the most representative authors in the genre. The books were on average some 100 pages long and cost 0,90 cts.
The first period of the series starts in 1933 and finishes in 1936, the year of the civil war. In its original period, the series published 25 authors, accounting for 68 books (see list below). The authors who saw the most of their books translated in the series were Oppenheim (8), Martyn (7), Christie (6) and Van Dine (5). Christie published there in that period the following books, whose translated title remain close to the original (this was not always the case in French) as can be see here : Continue reading
Les Sept Cadrans (The Seventh Dials Mystery, 1929) Cover by A. Masson, Le Masque, 44, 1929
Le Secret de Chimneys (The Secret of Chimneys, 1925 ), Translation Juliette Parry, Le Masque, 126, 1933. Continue reading