Cover for THOMPSON: Fiction, Crime, and Empire: Clues to Modernity and Postmodernism

Fiction, Crime, and Empire

Clues to Modernity and Postmodernism

Reading fiction from high and low culture together, Fiction, Crime, and Empire skillfully sheds light on how crime fiction responded to the British and American experiences of empire, and how forms such as the detective novel, spy thrillers, and conspiracy fiction articulate powerful cultural responses to imperialism. Poe's Dupin stories, for example, are seen as embodying a highly critical vision of the social forces that were then transforming the United States into a modern, democratic industrialized nation; a century later, Le Carré employs the conventions of espionage fiction to critique the exhausted and morally compromised values of British imperialism.

By exploring these works through the organizing figure of crime during and after the age of high imperialism, Thompson challenges and modifies commonplace definitions of modernism, postmodernism, and popular or mass culture.

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