This dissertation analyzes the evolution of French detective novels through the scope of its composition, especially the uses and functions of legal errors. It begins at the time of its creation in 1866 and goes all the way to 1939, the beginning of World War II, synonymous with the coming of a new subcategory of the genre known as the « roman noir » on the market of French literature. By examining legal error, I clarify the process by which detective novels reflect the transformations of society through the involvement of scientific discoveries, new judicial structures, and currents of thoughts. Data has been collected from an extensive corpus of detective novels and works of critics known for their studies on literature and society. To complete this study, I use three strategies.
First, I approached the question on a sociological aspect to demonstrate how detective novel is a genre of its time, its evolution in parallel with society. Second, on a more structural manner, I observed the structuration of the detective novel and the different tools or mechanisms used by authors to create the secret and delay the unveiling of the truth. Last, I compiled a corpus of literature to show the evolution of the detective novel, and I compared and contrast author's work to determine patterns of continuity or key moments of rupture in the structuring of detective literature. I completed my work with the analysis of an exception in the corpus: the collection of Fantômas, an outsider of the genre that comes as a counter-example, and illustrates the rise of a new demand. The findings show how legal error testifies of the drastic changes in the conception of literature and exemplifies that literature became accessible to a wider crowd of readers who have developed through History that particular taste and expectations defined as popular culture.
|Commitee:||Ancelet, Barry Jean, Wright, Monica|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Detective novel, French literature, Legal errors, Xixth century|
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