• Glen S. Close
Part of the Crime Files book series (CF)


Chapter  1 addresses modern crime fiction’s reliance on the presentation of corpses, theorizing that the genre has thrived internationally as a cultural device for managing the “great modern fear of death” (Philippe Ariès). Crime fiction posits an inaugural and compulsively repeated confrontation with the corpse, an emblem of the epistemological enigma of death and the abject (Julia Kristeva). In the hard-boiled mode, violently traumatized cadavers gained prominence, and female corpses were distinctively sexualized. Confronting them, male detectives erected themselves as models of autonomous, armored and invulnerable masculine subjectivity. Corpse-centric crime fiction is related to the rise of corpse imagery in other contemporary literary and audiovisual media. Parallels are drawn between mainstream crime fiction and the rhetoric of popular crime journalism including the Spanish American nota roja.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glen S. Close
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Wisconsin–MadisonMadisonUSA

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