Catalogue


Foul & fair play : reading genre in classic detective fiction /
Marty Roth.
imprint
Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Press, c1995.
description
xv, 284 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0820316229 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Press, c1995.
isbn
0820316229 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
775121
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 259-275) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1995-07:
Roth (Univ. of Minnesota) presents an inventive typology of the conventions in detective fiction--analytic, hard-boiled, and spy thriller. The opening chapters consider general issues, including the genre's cultural status, its self-consciousness, the notion of boundaries, the "metaphorics" of the hero, and the "police paradox." In succeeding "constellations," Roth examines various tropes or "markers," structures, and categories--inaccessible selfhood, masochism, voyeurism and fetishism (with the dismissal of women), the innocent and closed community, the sequence of suppression and restoration, the paradox of the obvious, the contempt for the ordinary, classes of clues, the "structural matrix" of coincidence, and the "second world." A number of these themes are arrestingly original; the argument is serious but not ponderous, and the three types within the genre are--when separable--always carefully distinguished. Roth's cruxes are often more interesting than the apt but sometimes heavy-handed evidence: in any case illustrative instances are limited. The writers most frequently modeled are Ambler, Buchan, Chandler, Christie, Doyle, Fleming, Hammett, Macdonald, Poe, and Sayers. Recommended for its range to all libraries. L. K. MacKendrick; University of Windsor
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, December 1994
Choice, July 1995
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Foul and Fair Playis an examination of classic detective fiction as a genre--an attempt to read a wide variety of texts by different authors as variations on a common and relatively tight set of conventions. Marty Roth covers the period from the "prehistory" of detective fiction in Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Robert Louis Stevenson, and H. G. Wells up to the 1960s, which marked the end, he says, of the classical period--"the end of an extremely conservative paradigm."The detective fiction genre, as Roth defines it, includes analytic detective fiction, hard-boiled detective fiction, and the spy thriller. Roth insists on the structural common ground of these three types of writing and places them in the larger system of mystery fiction that preceded and surrounds them.The first part of the book consists of a reading of conventions: conventions of character (the detective, the criminal), of gender and sexuality, of narrative style, of settings, and of the curious rules of exchange and coincidence that operate in the realm where detective stories take place. The second section deals with the convoluted epistemology of mystery and detective fiction, depending as it does on other major intellectual developments of the late nineteenth century, such as psychoanalysis.An extremely original study,Foul and Fair Playoffers many insights into the literary and cultural history of a popular genre.
Main Description
Foul and Fair Play is an examination of classic detective fiction as a genre--an attempt to read a wide variety of texts by different authors as variations on a common and relatively tight set of conventions. Marty Roth covers the period from the "prehistory" of detective fiction in Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Robert Louis Stevenson, and H. G. Wells up to the 1960s, which marked the end, he says, of the classical period--"the end of an extremely conservative paradigm." The detective fiction genre, as Roth defines it, includes analytic detective fiction, hard-boiled detective fiction, and the spy thriller. Roth insists on the structural common ground of these three types of writing and places them in the larger system of mystery fiction that preceded and surrounds them. The first part of the book consists of a reading of conventions: conventions of character (the detective, the criminal), of gender and sexuality, of narrative style, of settings, and of the curious rules of exchange and coincidence that operate in the realm where detective stories take place. The second section deals with the convoluted epistemology of mystery and detective fiction, depending as it does on other major intellectual developments of the late nineteenth century, such as psychoanalysis. An extremely original study, Foul and Fair Play offers many insights into the literary and cultural history of a popular genre.
Table of Contents
Preface
Preliminariesp. 1
Borderlines and Boundariesp. 23
The Constant Characterp. 42
The Seal of Subjectivityp. 68
The Pleasures of Being Merely Malep. 88
The Texture of Femininityp. 113
The Crime, the Criminal, the Communityp. 133
Detective Solutions and Their Fictionsp. 162
Methodological Items: The Clue, the Trifle, and Dirtp. 179
Methodological Moves: Coincidence and Convolutionp. 205
Messages from the Underworldp. 226
Notesp. 251
Bibliographyp. 259
Indexp. 277
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem