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Firmly anchored in literary and psychoanalytic theory, yet also combining an ironically essayistic style with scholarly profundity, this book reinserts the « mystery genre in its framework of Western history and tradition. Exemplifying the arguments by systematic references to the « American Detective par excellence, Robert B. Parker's Spenser, vistas are opened up to a remarkable « oeuvre, while, at the same time, a whole popular genre is reevaluated. In addition, major Western ideals and notions are discussed which are arguably more clearly discernable in detective fiction than anywhere else, yet reach far beyond a mere genre and are of general relevance. The analysis of the delicacy and eminently entertaining qualities of detective fiction is nicely balanced with reflections on what literature means to us existentially.
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Georg Schmid was born in Vienna and now lives in south-western France. He has taught at universities in the USA, in Paris and mainly at the University of Salzburg. Among his recent books is Profiling the American Detective (Frankfurt am Main 2004).Review:
«...Schmid's book offers interesting philosophical ideas, information about Robert B. Parker and his work, and some frequently discussed questions relating to detective fiction.» (Carmen Birkle, Amst Amerikastudien)
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