Belphégor Special Issue on The Politics of the Detective Novel
Call for Papers Date:
Special Issue edited by Sophie Lavoie
The Politics of the Detective Novel
Since its emergence in the 19th century, the detective novel has splintered into a number of sub-genres, such as the "noir" or the thriller, has spawned thematically-oriented spin-offs (the police procedural, the medical thriller), or national versions (the American hard-boiled novel, the Italian giallo¸ the German Krimi) etc. Often confined to the sphere of the characters' private lives, as for example in the "whodunit" or the thriller, detective novels nonetheless highlight the social problems of their times. This is obvious for the noir, less so -but still applicable - in other related genres. In addition, detective story plots are inherently democratic: billionaires and bums, governments and politicians, all show up on the list of the myriad of cases explored by writers around the world.
This issue of the journal Belphégor aims to explore the links between political systems and the detective story genre, and how the latter represents the former. Noir novels are most clearly affected by the following questions, which can also be felt within the confines of other related genres, including particularly the thriller. What does the detective novel hide and/or reveal depending on its ideological perspective or its national/geographic origin? Does this genre truly have the power to denounce injustice? What kind of a relationship does it entertain with political power? How readily can it submit to the needs of propaganda? Are ideology and the detective novel truly compatible? What differences exist between detective novels produced in liberal democracies, and those originating from authoritarian or dictatorial regimes? How far can the detective novel go in its role of witness to History? These initial questions should help initiate the debate to which we invite you to participate.
Article proposals (minimum of 300 words) should be sent by October 31, 2008 to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anticipated publication in November 2009.
Belphégor is an international refereed scholarly journal dedicated to the study of popular literature and media culture. The journal welcomes all types of theoretical analysis and encourages interdisciplinarity and comparative studies. Our goal is to stimulate discussion, research and exchange between researchers of all stripes in the Anglo-saxon, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds.
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