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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - Common Courses

Undergraduate Course: Crime and Detection in Literature (ELCC08005)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will explore issues of crime and detection in a variety of literary texts from different historical contexts and from a variety of European and, depending on staff availability, also Latin American countries. This will be done in relation to the main tropes of the genre and a range of theoretical approaches.

It will consider the contexts in which the texts appear and how crime fiction addresses ideological and social issues.
Course description This course examines the ways in which crime fiction, which was long considered a minor and inferior literary genre, has used its popular appeal to reflect on and address important social, political and sometimes philosophical issues. Notions of justice, guilt, identity play crucial parts in the genre but are often presented, especially in more recent texts, as subjective and dependent on historical and ideological factors.

With reference to political and social theories such as, for example, feminism, Marxism and post-structuralism, we will examine the ways in which the texts use and often transcend the tropes of the genre. We will consider its long-lasting appeal and the reasons why authors have used it specifically to address contemporary issues.

Texts will be read in their English translation, and recommended reading will be in English.

You will be assessed on your ability to produce close readings of both crime fiction texts and secondary literature and develop your ability to read critically and in context.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% coursework, no exam:

Mid-semester assignment: Pair Podcast (15 mins, pre-recorded): 50% weighting
End-of-semester assignment: Essay (1,200 words): 50% weighting
Feedback Assignments will be submitted on LEARN and will receive written feedback within 15 working days.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. construct clear and coherent arguments about representations of crime in fictional texts
  2. Illustrate these arguments using close analysis of the themes, form, and style of the cultural representations
  3. contextualize and critique these cultural representations using primary and secondary sources
  4. present their research in different formats (verbal presentations/podcasts and essays)
  5. demonstrate relevant knowledge of the scope, defining features, and main areas of the subject
Reading List
Essential Primary Texts:

E. T. A. Hoffmann, 'Mademoiselle de Scudery,' in Tales of Hoffmann, translated by R. J. Hollingdale (Penguin, 1982)

Volker Kutscher, Babylon Berlin, translated by Niall Sellar (Sandstone Press, 2016)

Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (London: McLehose Press, 2008)

Jean-Patrick Manchette, Fatale (Serpent's Tale Classics, 2015)

Recommended Secondary Reading:

Stephen Knight, Form and Ideology in Crime Fiction (London: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd, 1980)

John Scaggs, Crime Fiction (London: Routledge, 2005)

Todorov, Tzvetan, 'The Typology of Detective Fiction', in The Poetics of Prose (Cornell University Press, 1977)

Birgitta Berglund, 'Desires and Devices: On Women Detectives in Fiction', in The Art of Detective Fiction, ed. by Warren Chernaik, Martin Swales and Robert Vilain (Houndmills: Macmillan Press, 2000), pp. 138-52

Adrienne E. Gavin, 'Feminist Crime Fiction and Female Sleuths', in A Companion to Crime Fiction, ed. by Charles J. Rzepka and Lee Horsley (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), pp. 258-69

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills You will develop your ability to analyse a text critically and in relation to other texts and historical/cultural contexts.
You will learn to work with others (in pairs or in a group) towards a common project.
You will develop your ability to present findings in a structured and coherent way.
Special Arrangements The quota for this course will be raised to 40 once places have been allocated to Year 2 DELC students.
Additional Class Delivery Information 20 contact hours
Course organiserDr Ruairidh Tarvet
Course secretaryMrs Lina Gordyshevskaya
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