Instructor: Arner M/W/F 1:25 – 2:20pm
BoK: HU – Humanities
The hard-boiled novel—a major American contribution to twentieth century culture—has its roots in a society in reeling from the Great Depression and our long recovery. The tough, cynical, edgy voice of the hard-boiled crime-solver (and, occasionally, criminal) responds in the 1930s to the traditions of detective fiction, to the changing economics of American life, and to the familiar understandings of gender roles in culture and fiction. Dangerous women and bad, bad men (and good-bad men) populate these novels. The course will include classics of the genre, including works by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and James Cain. We’ll move through the 1950s, as the hard-boiled tradition more explicitly takes on issues of gender, race, and class. with writers like Patricia Highsmith, Chester Himes, and Jim Thompson. The hard-boiled continues into the present day, and we’ll read contemporary novels as well as contemporary theory and critical analyses. The course will feature a selection of films across the decades, and will use newspapers, magazines, and newsreels to give a sense of the culture’s visions of itself.