Detective Fictions

Detective Fictions

LIT 64-D

Fall 2001

Earl
Jackson, Jr.


talkingcure2000@aol.com

Office: 242 Kresge College

Phone: 831 459-4777

Messages: 831 459-2781

Office Hours: Mondays 16.00-18.00

Or By Appointment

MWF 2.00-3.10 PM Room 240 College Eight

Screenings Mondays 7.00 PM Media Theater M110

NOTE: The Take-Home Final Exam Questions are HERE.

The previously written papers that should be considered
models for critical writing are HERE.

Student
Responses with Feedback
  from Earl
Jackson, Jr.

The
menu for student midquarter essays with Earl Jackson, Jr.’s feedback
is
HERE.


 


Detective Fictions
This course is a critical participatory
investigation of the signature ambivalences that inform detective fiction
as a genre and condition its vicissitudes. We will focus on: the cognitive
orientations of the narrative that vacillate between awe and hyperrationality;
the subliminal/sublimated commonalities of the sleuth and the outlaw; the
organic antagonism between the clues at the crime scene that evoke 
a world supersaturated with meaning and the detective’s control and reduction
of that excessive signification. We will study these elements first in
the work of Edgar Allen Poe. Next we will trace their historicocultural
transformations in the texts of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century
France and Great Britain. We will then examine the emergence of the „Hard-Boiled“
detective genre in the 1920s and 1930s in the U.S., which will lead to
a consideration of the so-called „roman noir“ of the  1950s.
  Our
reading of the texts will progressively incorporate reflection on the modes
of reading inscribed within the texts as well as the modes of reading that
rigorous critical inquiry demand. We will distinguish among the subject
of investigation, the object of investigation, and the mode of investigation.
While the „subject“ of investigation will be personified by the detective,
the object will vary among categories that we will make precise: riddle,
enigma,
and mystery.
The modes of reading will include decoding,
interpretation, exegesis,
and analysis. 

Our examination of genre will be divided into two parts:
The first part will focus on the „internal boundaries“ of detective fiction.
For example, our initial contrastive readings of Poe and Conan Doyle will
provide inroads into some of the foundational contradictions of the detective
story per se: the obsessive reliance on rationality on the one hand
and the apprehension of the limits of rationality on the other; the puzzle
to be solved without consequence as opposed to the mystery that encompasses
the criminal and the criminologist. The second part of the course will
focus on the external boundaries of the detective genre: in reading suspense
fiction, we will pay particular attention to the differences between the
epistemological constraints characterizing the two genres. 

Lectures provide historical background
and introductions to genre theory, semiotics, psychoanalysis, and cultural
critique. The film screenings will provide another dimension for our joint
speculative engagement with these cultural modalities of anxiety
and fantasy,
nihilism
and faith.

Requirements:

Participation:

Regular attendence at lecture.
Regular attendence and participation in section.
Attendance at


Monday evening
film screenings
.


Other Films.

In addition to the communally screened
films, two films are assigned as readings, meaning that each student is
responsible to have screened the film individually prior to the day designated
for the discussion of that film. The films and the dates are: Heavenly
Creatures
(Peter Jackson 1994) October 31;
Memento
(Christopher Nolan, 2000) Nov. 14. 


Writing Assignments.

There will be weekly assignments
in section, some of them common to all sections, others designed by the
respective section leader in response to the particular needs of that section. 
Take-home Midquarter
(Essay Question). Take-home Final
(Essay Question.). All written work to be typed, double-spaced, and thoroughly
annotated (footnotes or endnotes, complete bibliography, in accordance
with MLA Style Sheet).
Student
Responses with Feedback
from Earl
Jackson, Jr.


Reading Experiments 1-5 are
already available on this web site. Please consult the list of pages at
the bottom of this page
.

The words „Midquarter“ and „Final“ in the paragraph above
are linked to the midquarter and final for the first version of this course,
conducted in Fall 1996.


Please also read my „mini-manifesto,“ „Critical Precision“
which you can find by clicking this.



Email and Internet.

Each student must have a functioning
email account, and provide the address to the section leader for the compilation
of a section-member email list. In addition to conventional written assignments,
there will also be electronically mediated assignments, via email, and
on the internet (the class will have a web site for Detective Fictions,
and the will be research assignments requiring use of the WWW-sources)


    Familiarity
with email, the Web, etc. is nota prerequisite for the course, but
an elementary facility with these sources is a requirement for passing
the course.


Please refer to my online „lecture-demo“
Cyberpedagogy.


http://www.anotherscene.com/cyberpedagogy.html


Schedule of Readings

Monday Wednesday Friday
9/19

Introduction:

Induction

Deduction

Abduction

Detection
9/21

Edgar Allen Poe:

The
Murders in the Rue Morgue


The
Mystery of Marie Roget


Arthur Conan Doyle:

A
Case of Identity
9/24

 Edgar Allen Poe:

The
Purloined Letter


Maelzel’s
Chess Player


G.
K. Chesterton


The
Mistake of the Machine
9/26

Edgar Allen Poe:

The
Gold Bug


On
Secret Writing


Arthur Conan Doyle: The
Case of the Dancing Men


The
Musgrave Ritual


R. Austin Freeman, „The Moabite Cipher“ [R1]

Jacques Fuselle, „The Fatal Cipher“ [R1]

 

 

9/28

Edgar Allen Poe: „The
Fall of the House of Usher
„.


On
line symposium
on „Fall of the House of Usher.“


Cornell Woolrich, „The Room with Something Wrong“[R1]
10/1

Arthur Conan Doyle:

The
Case of the Greek Interpreter


R. Austin Freeman,

„The Case of Oscar Brodski“[R1]

Dorothy L. Sayers,The
Lost Tools of Learning“


G.
K. Chesterton
, „A Defense of Detective Stories“
[R1]
10/3

Arthur Conan Doyle:

The
Cardboard Box


The
Yellow Face


S. S. Van Dine. „Twenty Rules for Writing Detective
Stories“
[R1]


Will Cuppy, „How to Read a Who-Dunnit“ [R1]

 R. Austin Freeman, „The Art of the Detective
Story“ [R1]
10/5

Gaspar Leroux

The Phantom of the Opera.

Jacques Fuselle, „The Crystal-Gazer“[R1]

„The Flaming Phantom“ [R1]
10/8

G.
K. Chesterton


Selected 

Father
Brown Stories


The
Blue Cross


 „The
Wrong Shape


 Ronald Knox. A Detective Story Decalogue
[R1]


Recommended:

Chesterton, „Orthodoxy„


10/10

Jacques Fuselle, „The Lost Radium“; [R1] Dashiell
Hammett
, „Nightmare Town“ [R1]; „From the Memoirs of a Private
Detective“ [R1]


 The Detection Club, „The
Detection Club Oath“ [R1]
10/12

Agatha Christie

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Joseph Wood Krutch, „Only a Detective Story“
[R1]


Recommended: Dashiell Hammett, The
Dain Curse
10/15

Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon
10/17

Dashiell Hammett

The Maltese Falcon

„The First Thin Man“

     
10/19 

Cornell Woolrich

„Nightmare“ (1941)

James Sandoe, „Dagger of the Mind“ [R1]
10/22 

John Franklin Barden

The Deadly  Percheron

Marie F. Rodell, „Clues“ [R1]
10/24

John Franklin Barden

The Deadly  Percheron


Recommended: Abe Kobo, The
Ruined Map
.
10/26

Anne Perry.

The Face of a Stranger.


Recommended: (sort of)

Patricia Cornwall

Unnatural Exposure/
10/29

Vera Caspary

Laura
10/31

Vera Caspary

Laura

Freud

„Mourning and Melancholia“ [R2]


In-class
Discussion of


Heavenly
Creatures
.

NOTE: Clicking on the title of the film will play the theatrical
trailor, if you have the Windows Media Player installed. To download the
Media Player for free,  Click HERE.


Recommended: Dashiell Hammett, The Dain Curse.
11/2

Raymond Chandler

The Long Goodbye
11/5

Raymond Chandler

The Long Goodbye11/15

Recommended: Dashiell Hammett, The Glass Key.
11/7

Raymond Chandler

The Long Goodbye
11/9

Raymond Chandler

The Long Goodbye

11/12 No Class. Mystery Holiday.


11/14

Raymond Chandler

The Long Goodbye


.In-Class
Discussion of
Memento
11/16

Ray
Nayler
.


American Graveyards


Recommended:


Ray Nayler’s short stories.

http://www.anotherscene.com/suspense/raynayler/
11/19

Ray
Nayler


American Graveyards.


Recommended:

Ray
Nayler interview with Christopher Breu.
11/21

Jim Thompson

A Swell Looking Babe

Cornell Woolrich, „Three O’Clock“ 


Recommended: Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside
Me


and Wild Town.
11/26

Jim Thompson

A Swell Looking Babe



11/28 

Patricia Highsmith

The Cry of the Owl


11/30

Patricia Highsmith

The Cry of the Owl

Student
Responses with Feedback
from Earl
Jackson, Jr.

Section Classroom 
Tuesdays 8.30-9.40  Kresge 325
Thursdays 8.30-9.40 Oakes 102
Thursdays 12.00-13.10  Kresge 194
Fridays 11.00-12.10 Kresge 348
For Section Assignment List Click THIS
or
http://www.anotherscene.com/sections.htm


The Following Books are available at Bay Tree Bookstore
and are Required for the Course.

Laroux, Gaston.
The
Phantom of the Opera
.

Christie, Agatha. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon [In the Complete
Novels of
]

Barden, John Franklin. The Deadly Purcheron.

Caspary, Vera.  Laura.

Chandler, Raymond. The
Long Goodbye
.

 Nayler,
Ray. 
American Graveyards.

Thompson, Jim. A Swell Looking Babe.

Highsmith, Patricia. The
Cry of the Owl
.


 

 

 


Schedule of Screenings
 Monday Noir
Mondays  Media Theater M110  7.00 PM
Screenings Episode of Les Vampires 7.00
Feature Film 7.30 [approximately]
The first lady of French
cinema, Alice
Guy
(1873-1968) directed 235 films during her career. She was the head
of production for Gaumont Studios from 1896-1907, when she was replaced
by Louis
Feuillade
(1873-1925), who had been a script-writer since 1905. Feuillade
made over 800 films at lightning speed. He is most remembered for his crime
serials Fantomas (1913-1914); Les Vampires (1914-1915); and
Judex
(1916).
Fantomas is based on the pulp-thrillers of Pierre Souvestre
and Marcel Allain, about the omnipresent yet absolutely mysterious master-criminal,
Fantomas.
This series and the figure of Fantomas became a focal point for the avant-garde
artists of the 1920s and 1930s including René Magritte (pictured
opposite). Later the Argentinian novelist Julio Cortazar would resurrect
Fantomas in an amazing novel, Fantomas
contra los vampiros multinacionales
.


Click THIS
for the full Text.
We will be screening one episode a week of Feuillade’s
next series, and in many ways more aesthetically mature, Les Vampires.
This details the evil-but-immensely-compelling-doings of Les Vampires,
a group of master jewel thieves, who change Master-Vampire leaders faster
(and more often) than Isabella Rosellini changes facial expressions in
Blue
Velvet
(and Master Vampires far out number said expressions in their
respective repetoires too). Among the attractions in this world of mutual
surveillance, multiple disguises, secret  passage ways, poison rings,
poison pens, exploding hat boxes, portable canons, and hypnotic spells,
is the at-times black-body-suit-clad songstress/mass murderer, Irma Vep,
played by actress/director/writer/producer Musidora
(Jeanne Roques [1889-1957]). Interest in this series was strangely reignited
in 1995 when the luckiest director in the world, Olivier Assayes persuaded
Maggie
Cheung Man-Yuk
to show us how elegantly and beautifully she could waste
her time playing herself in a film about a failed attempt to remake Les
Vampires
with her in the Musidora role.
9/24

Les Vampires (Louis Feuillade 1914) Episode 1

Detour (Edgar
G. Ulmer
1945)
10/1

Les Vampires (Louis Feuillade 1914) Episode 2

The
Third Man


(Carol Reed 1949)

Click Title for Trailer
10/8

Les Vampires (Louis Feuillade 1914) Episode 3

Raw Deal

(Anthony
Mann
1948)
10/15

Les Vampires (Louis Feuillade 1914) Episode 4

 Out of the Past 

(Jacques Tourneur 1948)
10/22

Les Vampires (Louis Feuillade 1914) Episode 5

They Won’t Believe Me

(Irving
Pichel
1949)
10/29 

Les Vampires (Louis Feuillade 1914) Episode 6

Wages of Fear

Henri-Georges
Clouzot



11/5

Les Vampires (Louis Feuillade 1914) Episode 7

T-Men

(Anthony
Mann
, 1947)
11/12

Mystery Holiday
11/15 Thurs ****** Special
Night!!

The
Big Combo


(Joseph
H. Lewis
1954)
11/19

Les Vampires (Louis Feuillade 1914) Episode 8

Blue
Velvet


(David Lynch 1986)

Click the title for the trailer.
11/26

Les Vampires(Louis
Feuillade 1914) Episode 9


Kiss Me, Deadly

(Robert Aldrich, 1955)

To
Poe Resources

To
Sherlock Holmes Resources

To
Semiotics Resources

To
The Megaguide


Reading Guides for Week One:
Edgar Allen Poe
Reading
Guide One
Reading
Guide Two
Reading
Guide Three
Reading
Guide Four
Reading
Guide Five
Reading
Guide Six



Reading
Guide Seven

 Reading
Guide Eight
Student
Responses with Feedback
  Earl
Jackson, Jr.
Mega-guide
to Resources Galore
: Mandatory Use.
Midquarter
Version One.
Midquarter
Version Two
Menu
of Students‘ Midquarters with Earl’s Feedback
.
Models
of Critical Reading and Writing HERE
Final
Take-Home Exam HERE
Book NOTE
The Novel Laura by Vera Caspary is Required for this course.


The Screenplay
for the film Laura has NOTHING
to Do with this course and was never ordered for it.

To
Monday Noir

To
Two-Way Spectacles


Section
Assignments



A
Poe Webliography by Heyward Ehrlich


Other Web Sites of Interest

Out
There: Science Fiction Practice and Theory
.

Cinema
and Subjectivity

Hysteria
and Paranoia

Suspense
Fiction

Critical
Fantasies

Freud
and Lacan Seminar

Histories
of Meaning

The
Phaedrus Kit
.


And of course, Another
Scene
for the full domain map.

Detective
Fictions


LIT 64-D

Fall 2001

Earl
Jackson, Jr.


talkingcure2000@aol.com

Turn
of the Screw
.