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Crime Scenes

Modern Crime Fiction in an International Context


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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Cyprian Piskurek



In a recent seminar session about classical detective fiction at Dortmund University, a student spoke up and complained about having to read the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. In his opinion, reading these stories could only frustrate the modern reader, since all the cases could be solved much more easily in our modern world where we can resort to mobile phones, surveillance cameras, the Internet or other technological gadgets. One may laugh that comment off as failing to understand what fiction and the study of literature are all about, or one might even see this statement as a provocation, which seems the most likely intention the student had in mind. As absurd as the student’s utterance may seem to literary scholars, I believe that it makes sense to think twice about what this claim entails, and consequently one may be able to see the provocation as raising a “thought-provoking” literary problem. Taking my cue from the student’s statement, I would suggest that this question points to an interesting gap between readers and texts, something which Iser has called a Leerstelle, or gap. Considering texts which seem foreign to the reader in terms of cultural or historical background, he writes that “no one will deny that literary texts do contain a historical substratum” and that “we as readers also play a part in the creation of [the] impression” that we feel transported back in time (Iser 7). Similar to Coleridge’s famous claim that readers’ “willing suspension...

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