Thursday, June 02, 2005

Chapter One, paragraph two, of a book I'm reading about crime fiction: 

'The detective story comes rather late in the history of literature, being a mere 135 years old. The simple reason for the late appearance of this story form lies in the fact that, before the early 1800's, there were no detectives.'

That clears that up.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

you learn something new every day
But was Edgar Allen Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue the first detective story? Maybe... it certainly has all the genre hallmarks.
Exactly right, Ian. The author of the book I am reading (which was published in 1976) goes on, later in the chapter, to acknowledge Poe:

'To Edgar Allan Poe goes the honour of inventing not only the detective story, but also the literary private detective as well. His hero, C. Auguste Dupin, first appeared in "Murders in the Rue Morgue" and later in the "The Mystery of Marie Roget and "The Purloined Letter".'
ever read marshall mcluhan? he always goes on about how detective stories were a general invention of the 19th century 'railroads & industrialization' mind. human beings invented a new way of solving problems: start with the conclusion, and then work back from there to where you are at beginning. detective novels are just a literary application of systematized practical logic - or so I understand from Mcluhan - which was being put into use en masse for the first time during the railroad boom.
Interesting, Cupcake Man. Touched on Mcluhan in the early seventies.

The author says 'The hero could not marry because he could not risk being killed on a case and leave his family destitute ... He was tough and able to hold his own in a violent situation ... his strong moral code kept him broke, but his honor was more precious than money ...'

Sounds like the Western as well.
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