Download PDF by Peter Swirski: American Crime Fiction: A Cultural History of Nobrow

By Peter Swirski

ISBN-10: 3319301071

ISBN-13: 9783319301075

ISBN-10: 331930108X

ISBN-13: 9783319301082

Peter Swirski seems at American crime fiction as an artform that expresses and displays the social and aesthetic values of its authors and readers. As such he files the manifold ways that such authorship and readership are a question of knowledgeable literary selection and never of cultural brainwashing or declining literary criteria. Asking, in impact, a chain of questions about the character of style fiction as artwork, successive chapters examine American crime writers whose careers throw gentle at the dangers and rewards of nobrow site visitors among well known varieties and intellectual aesthetics: Dashiell Hammett, John Grisham, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Chandler, Ed McBain, Nelson DeMille, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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1007/978-3-319-30108-2_2 29 30 P. SWIRSKI And yet, unexamined assumptions can sometimes lead astray. Take a look at the heroes, for example. Both are fast-talking urban cowboys who daily wade into the shark tanks of city streets and city courtrooms. Both are for hire for a fee plus expenses. Both are slow to get heavy but, when push comes to shove, neither the PI nor the attorney at law will back down from a tangle with the bad guys—or bed-eyed dames, for that matter. As even this thumbnail sketch suggests, the hardboiled hero might be more closely related to the hero of the modern legal procedural than is usually allowed.

At the end of the day it is also a style bespeaking the transformation of the USA from an agrarian to a hyper-industrial nation, boxed in unruly, unsafe, and ungovernable conurbations. Consonant with it is the fact that Red Harvest is hardly a murder mystery at all. As a whodunit, it should have ended with the solution of the murder of Donald Willsson, which comes a quarter of the way through. Instead, it grafts this opening murder onto a plot that, just like in Sanctuary, caroms through the entire history of modern crime in America: mafia racketeering, police corruption, assassinations, political sellouts, labor strike-breaking, bootlegging, fight fixing, gambling, bank robberies, and gun fights, to name just a few.

Globalization and free trade may be the contemporary buzzwords in geopolitics and macroeconomics but in popular culture they have always been parts of the landscape. 25 20 P. SWIRSKI Interpenetration between popular and highbrow art has always taken place with or without approval from the curators of the particular version of the canon. Little wonder that those interested in preserving the purity of high art often find themselves stymied when tracking its origins. Spaceage communication, multichannel mass marketing, and a zettabyte culture of creative imitation make this more difficult by the minute.

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American Crime Fiction: A Cultural History of Nobrow Literature as Art by Peter Swirski


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