Presenter Status

PhD Candidate, Department of English

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Location

Buller Hall, Room 250

Start Date

24-5-2019 12:00 PM

Presentation Abstract

Scholars often cite the transition from the golden age to the hardboiled tradition in the 1920s and 1930s as the most radical shift in crime fiction. By 1945, crime stories regularly exhibited destabilized language, increased interest in psychology of the mind, and a blatant rejection of conclusive endings as a means of exploring the unreliable nature of memory and eye-witness testimony. Whereas the crime fiction narratives preceding 1945 embodied a clear sense of logic and order, and established hermeneutics and signifying practices as the keys to unlocking the mysteries behind human behavior; post-45 crime fiction not only rejects these notions, but openly attacks them. Through their use of setting, their deployments of signifying practices, and their emphasis on methods of detection, pre-45 crime fiction narratives reiterate and uphold their trust in the reliability of the human mind and memory, while post-45 crime fiction uses the same generic conventions to undermine memory and hermeneutics on a larger scale. In highlighting this post-45 shift, this project not only uncovers the genre’s investment in memory, but it also clearly delineates the narrative mechanisms through which memory, and its common conceptions, are tested for reliability, accuracy, and meaning-making. In doing so, this project more broadly explores how literary representations of memory create avenues for exploring the ramifications these shifts have on cultural, legal, and cognitive theories of how we process, store, and reconstruct information regarding our pasts.

Biographical Sketch

Kylene Cave is a PhD candidate in the English department at Michigan State University. She graduated with both her bachelors and masters degrees in English from Andrews University. Her research interests include 20th and 21st century English and American literature with an emphasis in detective and crime fiction, cognitive psychology, memory studies, theories of mind, and the intersections between human memory and cultural, legal, and scientific theories. She is currently working on a dissertation on the influence of the crime fiction genre on memory studies and cognitive psychology.

COinS
 
May 24th, 12:00 PM

Dramatizing The Void: Crime Fiction's Journey to Forgetting

Buller Hall, Room 250

Scholars often cite the transition from the golden age to the hardboiled tradition in the 1920s and 1930s as the most radical shift in crime fiction. By 1945, crime stories regularly exhibited destabilized language, increased interest in psychology of the mind, and a blatant rejection of conclusive endings as a means of exploring the unreliable nature of memory and eye-witness testimony. Whereas the crime fiction narratives preceding 1945 embodied a clear sense of logic and order, and established hermeneutics and signifying practices as the keys to unlocking the mysteries behind human behavior; post-45 crime fiction not only rejects these notions, but openly attacks them. Through their use of setting, their deployments of signifying practices, and their emphasis on methods of detection, pre-45 crime fiction narratives reiterate and uphold their trust in the reliability of the human mind and memory, while post-45 crime fiction uses the same generic conventions to undermine memory and hermeneutics on a larger scale. In highlighting this post-45 shift, this project not only uncovers the genre’s investment in memory, but it also clearly delineates the narrative mechanisms through which memory, and its common conceptions, are tested for reliability, accuracy, and meaning-making. In doing so, this project more broadly explores how literary representations of memory create avenues for exploring the ramifications these shifts have on cultural, legal, and cognitive theories of how we process, store, and reconstruct information regarding our pasts.