Readings

This section contains the readings for the course, which are also presented by session.

Books

Doyle, Arthur Conan. Six Great Sherlock Holmes Stories. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1992. ISBN: 0486270556.

Nabokov, Vladimir. Pale Fire. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1999. ISBN: 0679723420.

Poe, Edgar Allen. Tales of Terror and Detection. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1995. ISBN: 0486287440.

Cain, James M. The Postman Always Rings Twice. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1989. ISBN: 0679723250.

Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1989. ISBN: 0679722645.

Christie, Agatha. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. New York, NY: Berkley Publishing, 2004. ISBN: 0425200477.

Weber, K. J. Five Minute Mysteries. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press, 1989. ISBN: 0894716905.

Sobol, D. J. Two Minute Mysteries. New York, NY: Scholastic, 1991. ISBN: 0590447874.

Browning, Robert. My Last Duchess and Other Poems. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1993. ISBN: 0486277836.

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1991. ISBN: 0486268772.

Readings by Session

LEC # Topics READINGS
1

High Art, Hermenutics, Detection, and Suspense

Modes: Oedipus and Theseus

Typology: The Hidden Treasure, The Locked Room, the Detective-as-Suspect

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex.

Film: The Moonstone. Directed by Paddy Russell. 1972.

2

Nature and Hieroglyphics

Ideograms

Cryptography as Process and as Metaphor

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “ Nature.” (Read the essay, not the entire work.)

Poe, Edgar Allen. “ The Raven.” In Tales of Terror and Detection.

Ancillary Readings

Haycraft, Howard. Murder for Pleasure. New York, NY: Appleton-Century Company, 1941.

3

Doubling

Self-Consciousness as Method and Disguise

Materialism, Claustrophobic Homes, Locked Rooms

Poe, Edgar Allen. “ Murders in the Rue Morgue (PDF),” “ The Purloined Letter,” “ The Raven,” and “ The Philosophy of Composition.” In Tales of Terror and Detection.

Ancillary Readings

Lacan, Jacques. “Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter.’” Translated by Jeffrey Mehlman. Yale French Studies 48, French Freud: Structural Studies in Psychoanalysis (1972): 5-9.

4

Materialism and Identity

The Advantages of Empiricism are the Disadvantages of Empiricism

Why Conan Doyle Killed Off Holmes to Write about Victorian Faeries

Doyle, Arthur Conan. “ A Scandal in Bohemia,” “ Adventure of the Speckled Band,” “ Adventure of the Dancing Men,” “ Five Orange Pips,” “ The Musgrave Ritual,” and “ The Final Problem.” In Six Great Sherlock Holmes Stories.
5

Self and Self-Revelation

Oedipal Resistances

Retrospective Narratives

Browning, Robert. “ The Bishop orders His Tomb,” “ My Last Duchess,” “ Porphyria’s Lover,” “ Soliloquy in a Spanish Cloister.” In My Last Duchess and Other Poems.

Ancillary Readings

Porter, Dennis. “Backward Construction and the Art of Suspense.” In Pursuit of Crime. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981. ISBN: 0300027222.

6

The Position of the Observer

Small Town, Country House, Sexual Demimonde, Moving Train

Christie, Agatha. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

Ancillary Readings

Wilson, Edmund. “Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?” Originally published in New Yorker, January 20, 1945.

Grossvogel, David. “Agatha Christie: Containment of the Unknown.” In Mystery and Its Fictions: From Oedipus to Agatha Christie. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979. ISBN: 0801822017.

7

McGuffins, Clewes, Histories

The Detective as Knight Errant

Film Noir as Style and as Moral Orientation

Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon.

Film: The Maltese Falcon. Directed by John Huston. 1941.

Ancillary Readings

Chandler, Raymond. “The Simple Art of Murder.” Originally published in Atlantic Monthly, December, 1945.

8

Deep Focus

Politics and Representation

Does Rosebud Even Matter?

Kane’s Women

Film: Citizen Kane. Directed by Orson Welles. 1941.

Ancillary Readings

Stowe, William. “From Semiotics to Hermeneutics: Modes of Detection in Doyle and Chandler.” In Poetics of Murder: Detective Fiction and Literary Theory. Edited by Glenn Most and William Stowe. New York, NY: Harcourt Brace, 1983, pp. 366-84. ISBN: 0156723123.

9

Doubling and the Mind-Body Nexus

Completing Dupin

The Double-Mirror Paradigm of Self-Consciousness

Evidence, Clues, Solution: Elusive Pleasures

Borges, Jorge Luis. “The Garden of Forking Paths,” “Death and the Compass,” and “Ibn Hakkam al-Bokhari, Dead in his Labyrinth.” In Collected Fictions. Translated by Andrew Hurley. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1999. ISBN: 0140286802.

———. “Kafka and His Precursors.” In Labyrinths: Selected Short Stories and Other Writings. New York, NY: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1964. ISBN: 0811200124.

10

Guilt and Transference

The Pleasure of Looking through Other People’s Windows

The Secret in the Marsh: Coming Clean about Secrets

Film: Psycho. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. 1960.

Ancillary Readings

Barthes, Roland. “Delay and the Hermeneutic Sentence.” In Poetics of Murder: Detective Fiction and Literary Theory. Edited by Glenn Most and William Stowe. New York, NY: Harcourt Brace, 1983. ISBN: 0156723123. Also published in: Barthes, Roland. “Sarrasine, by Honoré de Balzac.” In Appendices of S/Z: An Essay. Translated by Richard Miller. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, 1974. ISBN: 0374521670.

11

The Hidden Jewels

Doubling and Narcissism

“The Mystery to a Solution”

Nabokov, Vladimir. Pale Fire.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment Written Assignments