ENG 348 Crime in Literature

An examination of how writers imagine crime in literature from the 18th century to the 21st century. In the early 18th century, criminals often had a celebrity status, and novels celebrated the exploits of highwaymen and petty thieves. However, as police forces and detectives came into being in the 19th century, writers often gave hero status to the new crime-fighting professionals. In the 20th century, writers frequently returned to criminals as their primary subjects, but they rarely celebrated them as heroes, instead focusing on the idea of crime as symptom of a sick culture. This course emphasizes the literary achievement of the works as well as their ties to the cultures from which they emerge.