Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 1 session / week, 1.5 hours / session
This course consists of readings in the history of the form of the detective story, from the 19th-century to the present. It involves studies in questions of knowing, from materialist puzzles through metaphysical meditations to elegant whimsy, from murder in an English country village to crowned jewels buried in a footnote.
Because we’ll do much of the work of this subject through discussions, naturally I’ll expect you to be actively here during class and to practice the skills of a good participant: informed attention, preparation, helpful contribution, talking, assimilation, generous and intelligent listening, and mutual respect.
Do all the readings. We’ll have quizzes every week or so. Results of those quizzes account for ca. 25% of the final grade.
Quizzes and Exam
Frequent quizzes; short final exercise.
|In class work, including seminar skills||2/3|
|Written work, quizzes, and exam||1/3|
High Art, Hermenutics, Detection, and Suspense
Modes: Oedipus and Theseus
Typology: The Hidden Treasure, The Locked Room, the Detective-as-Suspect
Nature and Hieroglyphics
Cryptography as Process and as Metaphor
Self-Consciousness as Method and Disguise
Materialism, Claustrophobic Homes, Locked Rooms
Materialism and Identity
The Advantages of Empiricism are the Disadvantages of Empiricism
Why Conan Doyle Killed Off Holmes to Write about Victorian Faeries
Self and Self-Revelation
The Position of the Observer
Small Town, Country House, Sexual Demimonde, Moving Train
McGuffins, Clewes, Histories
The Detective as Knight Errant
Film Noir as Style and as Moral Orientation
Politics and Representation
Does Rosebud Even Matter?
Doubling and the Mind-Body Nexus
The Double-Mirror Paradigm of Self-Consciousness
Evidence, Clues, Solution: Elusive Pleasures
Guilt and Transference
The Pleasure of Looking through Other People’s Windows
The Secret in the Marsh: Coming Clean about Secrets
The Hidden Jewels
Doubling and Narcissism
“The Mystery to a Solution”