Instructor: Jeffrey Aziz
This is a section of the regular "Detective Fiction" course--i.e. fullfills the same requirements that one does--but cross-listed with JS because of a focus on Jewish identity as it emerges in these texts.
Course Description (for this section):
Of the perennial characters of fiction, the detective is a late arrival, appearing in the mid-nineteenth century, spreading and mutating in the twentieth and twenty-first. A question for us, as we turn the detective’s lens back upon him, is to understand why such a character is produced at this historical moment. What is the detective? Why do we modern, urban types need him? What happens when the detective herself transgresses boundaries of gender, race, or social class? The course will trace a development from the early work of Edgar Allan Poe, through the Sherlock Holmes stories of Arthur Conan Doyle, to modern and even postmodern detectives, including such works as The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon. This course will explore the representation of social difference in detective fiction in registers of gender, sexual identity, and ethnicity, with a special emphasis on the representation of Jewish identity through such texts as Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated and William Goldman’s Marathon Man.