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Crime Scenes

Modern Crime Fiction in an International Context

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Edited By Urszula Elias and Agnieszka Sienkiewicz-Charlish

Crime Scenes: Modern Crime Fiction in an International Context examines the ways in which crime fiction has developed over several decades and in several national literary traditions. The volume covers a wide spectrum of current interests and topical concerns in the field of crime fiction studies. It introduces twenty-four original essays by an international group of scholars divided among three main sections: «Genres», «Authors and Texts» and «Topics». Issues discussed include genre syncretism, intertextuality, sexuality and gender, nationhood and globalization, postcolonial literature and ethical aspects of crime fiction.
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Marta Aleksandrowicz-Wojtyna

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Deeply political, saturated in the South African apartheid context, Nadine Gordimer’s short stories are located by many literary critics under the rubric of socio-psychological fiction.1 In her stories it is the action that opens doors and is subordinate to the complexity of characters’ thoughts, motivation and moral dilemmas. Of course, characterization is hardly ever analyzed in separation from the story material, but Gordimer’s stories might find accusations of being plotless, static, and amorphous. In her short fiction, the role of plot per se is diminished without its textual agents. Such an assumption brings them closer to the psychological narratives Tzvetan Todorov elaborates on in “Narrative Men”: “Psychological narrative regards each action as a means of access to the personality in question, as an expression if not a symptom. Action is not considered in itself, it is transitive with regard to its subject” (227). Thus, in her short fiction the main emphasis will be on the subject, not on the predicate [prédicative] (or what the subject does), to use Todorov’s terms.

In her 2005 anthology with the self-explanatory title A Moment on the Edge: 100 Years of Crime Stories by Women, Elizabeth George includes Nadine Gordimer’s short story “Country Lovers.” In view of the fact that the text is seldom analyzed in separation from its twin story “City Lovers,” its presence in the anthology raises numerous questions concerning the status of both stories as examples of crime fiction, since even the titles foreshadow more symptoms of...

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