Far from being objective entities, literary genres should be regarded as cultural constructs, the development of which can be analysed in a “meta- critical” mode. During the course of modernity, crime fiction underwent a process of specialisation due to societal and epistemological changes that brought about an increasing focus on the investigation. Yet, this process never severed the ties between this highly successful and partly formulaic literary output and the much broader body of crime narratives. This chapter aims not only to remind us of this phenomenon, but also to investigate the concomitant critical and theoretical constructions, starting from the early twentieth century, when detective fi ction crystallised into a literary genre that resulted from complex interactions between literary production and reception. It will then move on to the second half of the century, when this theoretical perspective was progressively deconstructed, also in response to the renewed experimental freedom claimed by practitioners of the genre. Having traced the shift from detective fiction to crime fiction , that is, from the restrictive theoretical and historical paradigms that characterised Golden Age detective fiction to the current emphasis on the creative power of cross- genre pollination, these pages will finally show how this counterhistorical awareness can lead to a renewed interest in the prehistory of the genre.

Counterhistories and Prehistories / Maurizio Ascari. - STAMPA. - (2020), pp. 22-30.

Counterhistories and Prehistories

Maurizio Ascari
2020

Abstract

Far from being objective entities, literary genres should be regarded as cultural constructs, the development of which can be analysed in a “meta- critical” mode. During the course of modernity, crime fiction underwent a process of specialisation due to societal and epistemological changes that brought about an increasing focus on the investigation. Yet, this process never severed the ties between this highly successful and partly formulaic literary output and the much broader body of crime narratives. This chapter aims not only to remind us of this phenomenon, but also to investigate the concomitant critical and theoretical constructions, starting from the early twentieth century, when detective fi ction crystallised into a literary genre that resulted from complex interactions between literary production and reception. It will then move on to the second half of the century, when this theoretical perspective was progressively deconstructed, also in response to the renewed experimental freedom claimed by practitioners of the genre. Having traced the shift from detective fiction to crime fiction , that is, from the restrictive theoretical and historical paradigms that characterised Golden Age detective fiction to the current emphasis on the creative power of cross- genre pollination, these pages will finally show how this counterhistorical awareness can lead to a renewed interest in the prehistory of the genre.
2020
The Routledge Companion to Crime Fiction
22
30
Counterhistories and Prehistories / Maurizio Ascari. - STAMPA. - (2020), pp. 22-30.
Maurizio Ascari
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/758896
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