ENG 242 A History of Mystery

Dean Flower, M W 2:40 PM-4:00 PM

A study of the development of detective fiction in English, starting with gothic mysteries in the late 18th century and the innovations of Edgar Allen Poe in the 1830s. Emphasis on the changing conventions of the genre, particularly in Victorian and Edwardian England, and how the form reflects ideas about the nature of knowledge, the "science" of deduction, and the problematics of interpretation. Turning to more recent works we will consider how the genre came to be stylized, parodied, and given new purposes in the 20th century. Reading of works by Charles Brockden Brown, Poe, Wilkie Collins, Conan Doyle, G. K. Chesterton, E. C. Bentley, Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, and others.