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Frauenkrimi / polar féminin

Generic Expectations and the Reception of Recent French and German Crime Novels by Women

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Nicola Barfoot

Can female-authored French and German crime novels be read as part of an international phenomenon of feminist revisions of the crime genre? This book examines the status of female crime writers and their female investigators in France and Germany, focusing on four novels of the 1990s and their reception. In Germany the rise of the Frauenkrimi has been accompanied by fears of ghettoization on the part of women writers, and hostile reactions from critics to perceived feminist ideology, while in France the encroachment of women on the masculine terrain of the roman noir has given rise to retrenchments and defensive redefinitions. Far from being a simple source of pleasure, female-authored crime novels in France and Germany are a site of conflict; this study exposes the terms of this conflict and demonstrates the continued centrality of gender issues in literary studies.
Contents: Feminism and the Crime Novel – France and the polar féminin – Germany and the Frauenkrimi – Noëlle Loriot: L’Inculpé – Pieke Biermann: Violetta – Virginie Despentes: Les Chiennes savantes – Maria Gronau: Weiberwirtschaft.