Gallimard’s ill-fated Série Blême (1949-1951) is one of the most elegant and attractive Series of Crime Fiction. It is also one of the most prestigious, and appealing, literarily. It shows the dedication of the Series’ general editor, in his role as a selector of texts. Publishing a series is an act of mediation. It involves mediating between authors (carefully chosen on the basis of a set of objective and subjective criteria) and readers, whose taste the series seeks to educate. In this case, Marcel Duhamel (also the editor of the Série Noire) was committed to highlight through this series a literary evolution he saw within the noir genre. The evolution from the early Black Mask “hardboiled” stories, driven by the action, to a more subjective, introspective and psychological thriller, the novel of suspense. Continue reading
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Gérard Dixe, L’Homme aux yeux jaunes, Nicea, 1945
illustration René Brantonne.
The 1930’s and 1940’s registered an abundance of Crime Fiction series in France. They are treasured today by collectors. Often this interest owes more to their cover art than to the crime stories themselves. This is perhaps unfair, as there are many great stories there. But the cover art is indeed remarkable. Here are a few examples from these iconic series.
With thanks to Fabien Cerbelaud and Remy Crouzevialle
The famous series of the San-Antonio Adventures (175 books published between 1949 and 2000) explores the parisian space. The following maps locate the parisian streets and places inscribed in the texts; they visualise their repartition and evolution. The first map (above) focuses on the first decade of the San-Antonio production ; it is based on a systematic inventory of occurences spread across 30 books. The second map (below) shows the results of a sample from books published during the entire span of the original series’s career. Continue reading