This course seeks to undertake some serious recovery work regarding American women writers’ early mystery and detective fiction. Although the American authors that we will study are recognized in literary histories of the detective genre and crime fiction, many of their works have not been given as much scholarly attention as they deserve and await further in-depth interpretations and analyses. The course will focus on – but is not limited to – the ways in which American women writers narrate, represent, and comment on issues of gender, crime, and detection in the second half of the nineteenth and the early decades of the twentieth centuries.
We will study the following primary materials:
• Detective fiction by Harriet Prescott Spofford: “In a Cellar” (1859); “Mr. Furbush” (1865); “In the Maguerriwock” (1868) [see Stud.IP]
• Anna Katharine Green, The Leavenworth Case (1878). Please purchase the Penguin Classic edition, with an introduction by Michael Sims, 2010.
• Mary Roberts Rinehart, The Amazing Adventures of Letitia Carberry (1911). The book is in the public domain and can be downloaded here: https://archive.org/details/amazingadventur00rinegoog/page/n13/mode/2up
• Mary Roberts Rinehart, Tish: The Chronicles of Her Escapades and Excursions (1916). The book is in the public domain and can be downloaded here: https://cdn.fulltextarchive.com/wp-content/uploads/wp-advanced-pdf/1/Tish-The-Chronicle-of-Her-Escapades-and.pdf