Detecting Texts The Metaphysical Detective Story from Poe to Postmodernism

ISBN-10: 0812216768

ISBN-13: 9780812216769

Edition: 1999

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Although readers of detective fiction ordinarily expect to learn the mystery's solution at the end, there is another kind of detective story--the history of which encompasses writers as diverse as Poe, Borges, Robbe-Grillet, Auster, and Stephen King--that ends with a question rather than an answer. The detective not only fails to solve the crime, but also confronts insoluble mysteries of interpretation and identity. As the contributors to Detecting Texts contend, such stories belong to a distinct genre, the "metaphysical detective story," in which the detective hero's inability to interpret the mystery inevitably casts doubt on the reader's similar attempt to make sense of the text and the world. Detecting Texts includes an introduction by the editors that defines the metaphysical detective story and traces its history from Poe's classic tales to today's postmodernist experiments. In addition to the editors, contributors include Stephen Bernstein, Joel Black, John T. Irwin, Jeffrey T. Nealon, and others.
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Book details

List price: $28.95
Copyright year: 1999
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Publication date: 12/1/1998
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.144

Patricia Merivale is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of British Columbia. Susan Elizabeth Sweeney is Associate Professor of English at the College of the Holy Cross.

The Game's Afoot: On the Trail of the Metaphysical Detective Story
Armchair Detecting, or the Corpus in the Library
Mysteries We Reread, Mysteries of Rereading: Poe, Borges, and the Analytic Detective Story
Borges's Library of Forking Paths
(De)feats of Detection: The Spurious Key Text from Poe to Eco
Hard-Boiling Metaphysics
Gumshoe Gothics: Poe's "The Man of the Crowd" and His Followers
Work of the Detective, Work of the Writer: Auster's City of Glass
"The Question Is the Story Itself": Postmodernism and Intertextuality in Auster's New York Trilogy
Postmortem: Modern and Postmodern
Reader-Investigators in the Post-Nouveau Roman: Lahougue, Peeters, and Perec
"A Thousand Other Mysteries": Metaphysical Detection, Ontological Quests
Postmodernism and the Monstrous Criminal: In Robbe-Grillet's Investigative Cell
Forging Identities
Detecting Identity in Time and Space: Modiano's Rue des Boutiques Obscures and Tabucchi's Il Filo dell'orizzonte
"Premeditated Crimes": The Dis-Solution of Detective Fiction in Gombrowicz's Works
"Subject-Cases" and "Book-Cases": Impostures and Forgeries from Poe to Auster
In Place of an Ending
Suggestions for Further Reading
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