Search results

Minds, machines, and monsters
Author: John Sharples

A chess-player is not simply one who plays chess just as a chess piece is not simply a wooden block. Shaped by expectations and imaginations, the figure occupies the centre of a web of a thousand radiations where logic meets dream, and reason meets play. This book aspires to a novel reading of the figure as both a flickering beacon of reason and a sign of monstrosity. It is underpinned by the idea that the chess-player is a pluralistic subject used to articulate a number of anxieties pertaining to themes of mind, machine, and monster. The history of the cultural chess-player is a spectacle, a collision of tradition and recycling, which rejects the idea of the statuesque chess-player. The book considers three lives of the chess-player. The first as sinner (concerning behavioural and locational contexts), as a melancholic (concerning mind-bending and affective contexts), and as animal (concerning cognitive aspects and the idea of human-ness) from the medieval to the early-modern within non-fiction. The book then considers the role of the chess-player in detective fiction from Edgar Allan Poe to Raymond Chandler, contrasting the perceived relative intellectual reputation and social utility of the chess-player and the literary detective. IBM's late-twentieth-century supercomputer Deep Blue, Wolfgang von Kempelen's 1769 Automaton Chess-Player and Garry Kasparov's 1997 defeat are then examined. The book examines portrayals of the chess-player within comic-books of the mid-twentieth century, considering themes of monstrous bodies, masculinities, and moralities. It focuses on the concepts of the child prodigy, superhero, and transhuman.

The importance of films in the cultural and social life of both Britain and the United States has long been recognized. Although radio survived in Britain more or less intact, by 1960 it too had taken second place to television as the prime domestic medium. This book begins by analysing the very different relationships between cinema and radio that emerged in Britain and the United States. It moves on to examine the ways in which cinema adapted radio programmes in the fields of comedy and detective fiction and then how radio dramatized films. When radio first took off in the United States in the late 1920s, it was regarded by the film industry as a rival, something to keep people at home and away from the cinema. But during the 1930s, Hollywood began to appreciate the value of radio in publicizing and promoting its films. The British broadcasting service was set up in 1922 with a monopoly and finance from a licence fee following negotiations between the Post Office, which controlled the air waves, and the radio industry, which manufactured the equipment. Radio in wartime was informational and inspirational. It provided news, entertainment, and propaganda. The book concludes with a look in detail at the ways in which the two media have dealt with three popular fictional characters, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes.

Ideology and the Gothic in Hagars Daughter
Eugenia DeLamotte

Delamotte examines the representation of race in Pauline Hopkins‘s Hagar‘s Daughter (1901/2). She argues that the novel provides a revision of the Female Gothic and also exploits narrative devices familiar from detective fiction. The solving of the ‘mystery’ that lies at the heart of the novel is one which explodes the ideological ‘mystery’, and the national crime of slavery, which separates Black and White, masculine and feminine, home and state, and African American and Euro-American families.

Gothic Studies
Abstract only
The imagination of Celtic Cornwall
Author: Shelley Trower

The close relation between concepts of nation and landscapes is well-established in cultural and literary studies. This book considers how the geological substance of national territory itself is used to support ideas of nationhood. The focus of much of the book is on Cornwall (the region located at the far south-west of Britain) and 'primitive' rocks found in this region as an in-depth case study in the context of 'Celtic' Britain. The book begins by focusing primarily on an emerging consciousness of Cornwall as a distinctively rocky territory as depicted in nineteenth-century geological journals, poetry, folklore, travel narratives, gothic and detective fiction. It then looks mainly at twentieth-century ghost stories, Cornish nationalist and New Age writing, and modernist and romance novels. The book reflects how the categories of science and literature were only beginning to take shape in the nineteenth century. It does so by building on well-established connections between these fields to show how geology and poetry together engage with rocks as a basis for perceiving Celtic nations and native races as distinct from England. Finally, the book takes on a more distinctly fictional engagement with the Cornish nationalist imagination and its ghosts.

A comparative study
Author: Neil Cornwell

This book takes four stories by the Russian Romantic author Vladimir Odoevsky to illustrate ‘pathways’, developed further by subsequent writers, into modern fiction. Featured here are: the artistic (musical story), the rise of science fiction, psychic aspects of the detective story and of confession in the novel. The four chapters also examine the development of the featured categories by a wide range of subsequent writers in fiction ranging from the Romantic period up to the present century. The study works backwards from Odoevsky's stories, noting respective previous examples or traditions, before proceeding to follow the ‘pathways’ observed into later Russian, English and comparative fiction.

Abstract only
Urban hieroglyphics, patternings and tattoos in Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The tell-tale heart’ and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; Or, the whale
Spencer Jordan

of the eye in ‘The tell-tale heart’; and the bodily tattooing in Moby-Dick . Foreshadowing this chapter’s discussion of the beating heart in Poe’s short story, Schiffmacher states that ‘tattoos function as a means of non-verbal communication’ and gives the example of ‘the lines on the face of the Inuit telling the tale of a murder’ (Schiffmacher 2005 : 12). This essence of creating rationalised patterns of meaning out of chaos remains central to nineteenth-century detective fiction. As Thomas notes, ‘the literary detective transcribes the criminal body and

in Tattoos in crime and detective narratives
Abstract only
The rise of the psychic detective
Neil Cornwell

), reference to alchemy and the philosopher’s stone, and possible diabolic influence are bandied about in a story seen (in contrast with the epistemological optimism of most detective fiction – an ethical pessimism notwithstanding) as ‘doubly negative in its conclusions’ and imbued with an ‘ultimate pessimism’ (xv, xviii). Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin, the aristocratic private sleuth and master of deduction or, as he himself stresses, of ‘analysis’ in Poe’s trio of pioneering detective tales, is ever keen to expatiate on his methods to (or through

in Odoevsky’s four pathways into modern fiction
Detection, deviance and disability in Richard Marsh’s Judith Lee stories
Minna Vuohelainen

fiction paper, the Strand enjoyed a ‘symbiotic relationship’ with detective fiction, which ‘far outweighed any other genre in the magazine’, and Sherlock Holmes’ serial adventures had appeared in it since 1891.3 Lee’s association with the monthly is therefore significant not only because it establishes her place within the detective canon but also because it points to changing generic boundaries and readerly values in the early years of the ­twentieth century. 63 Richard Marsh and topical discourses of crime As Nick Freeman’s chapter in this volume also notes, Marsh

in Richard Marsh, popular fiction and literary culture, 1890–1915
Abstract only
Science fiction meets detection in Gun, With Occasional Music
James Peacock

-fi and noir that warrants the label ‘postmodern’? Do postmodern genres exist (to borrow a question from Ralph Cohen), and what might a postmodern analysis of genres, or more accurately in this case, an analysis of depictions of established genres put under pressure in postmodern environments, entail? If, as Brian McHale proposes, detective fiction is the ‘epistemological genre par excellence ’ and

in Jonathan Lethem
Abstract only
The tattoo as navel in Louisa May Alcott’s ‘V.V.: Or, plots and counterplots’
Alexander N. Howe

implausible) plots, this expanse is at the same time appropriate to the dominant theme of the thrillers, which is identity in crisis. It is not incidental, then, that Alcott foregrounds the act of detection in the thrillers. While detective fiction continued to be dismissed as a conservative genre in academic circles, Alcott was a savvy enough reader of Edgar Allan Poe to recognise the possibilities of critique inherent in tales of sleuthing. Much like Poe, Alcott often pairs gothic elements with detection, always with a deliberate focus on the act of reading. 2

in Tattoos in crime and detective narratives