Friday, August 17, 2007

Crime in an academic setting

I found out about this one only after the fact, but if I'd been in Ireland in June, I might have made my way to The Scene of the Crime: Setting in Modern Crime Fiction at the University of Limerick.

This academic conference drew scholars from Europe and North America to talk about setting in mysteries and, yes, one or two of the papers had goofy titles ("Bodyscape, or the Representation of the Body in C.S.I."). But there was plenty to interest serious readers of crime fiction. A paper in the "Unreal Places II" session was devoted to "Fred Vargas’s Mythical Sense of Place," for example, and another focused on "Murder in Swedish Arcadia: The Idyllic Setting in the Swedish Whodunit of the 1950s." Given the conference's location, it's no surprise Ken Bruen made it onto the program. He made it twice, in fact, in "Scene and Heard: Ken Bruen’s Defective Detective" "American Skin, Irish Masks: Ken Bruen’s Postmodernism."

I'll save the conference's program as a shopping list for writers whose work I'd heard of but not read -- Driss Chraïbi and Didier Daeninckx, to mention two -- and I'll look into others who were the subjects of intriguing-sounding papers. The organizers appeared to take crime fiction the way it ought to be taken if it is to be the subject of a conference: seriously, but without going over the top. The good people who put the event together billed it as the second interdisciplinary crime fiction conference of the Atlantic University Alliance, and if they'll allow a non-academic into their midst, I might attend the third.

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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