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Cultures and civilisations


From the Sublime to City Crime

Maurizio Ascari - Stephen Knight -


The authors and cultural formations under discussion in "From the Sublime to City Crime" are much more than the pre-modernism of detective-focused crime fiction. They testify to the strength and power of the sublime forces of both awe and fear that were potent in the early nineteenth century and have remained the dialectical dynamic of the genre, both stimulating and making exciting the containment provided by the rationalistic elements of cerebral, quasi-scientific and triumphantly individualistic detection. As these early criminographers grappled with the interface of rational discourse and subliminal passions, from the hopeful errancy of Caleb Williams to the media’s attempt to confront and contain the murderous Maria Manning, as narratives from disciplinary medicine and law confronted human aberrance, as Balzac predicted the "roman noir" and 19th century Scandinavians pointed to Stieg Larsson, they all realised the deep and dangerous world of modern crime, physical and emotional, and brought the genre of crime fiction into existence in a blasted Eden – which it has never ceased to celebrate.

ISBN: 978-2-36580-209-3

Studies in Romanticism, Boston University (Summer 2016): click here

Release date: 26/05/2015

20 €

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