European Crime Fictions: French Crime Fiction
|ISBN: 9780708321010 (0708321011)Publication Date: May 2009|
Publisher: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales PressFormat: Hardback, 216x138 mm, 192 pages
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This first volume in the European crime fictions series acts as an introduction to crime writing in French. It presents the development of crime fiction in French cultures from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day and explores the distinctive features of a French-language tradition.
Hon yw'r gyfrol gyntaf yn y gyfres ar ffuglen droseddol Ewropeaidd, ac mae'n canolbwyntio ar ysgrifennu troseddol yn Ffrangeg. Cyflwynir datblygiad ffuglen droseddol yn Ffrainc o ganol y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg hyd heddiw, a bwrir golwg dros agweddau penodol y traddodiad iaith Ffrangeg.
Although this book is clearly aimed at an academic readership with a specialist professional interest in crime fiction, and specifically French crime fiction, I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with a passion for the genre. I am neither an academic nor particularly a crime-fiction aficionado, but I found the book so fascinating and intellectually stimulating that I struggled to put it down. The writing, though erudite, is eminently readable and accessible.
French Crime Fiction is the first of a series of studies examining ‘the dark contents of a form of fiction that has indelibly marked European culture’ and it’s a brilliant beginning. As editor, Claire Gorrara offers not only her own chapter on the roman noir but also a fine introduction to a collection of papers by eminent academics in the field, spanning the history and development of French crime fiction from its origins in the late nineteenth century to the postmodernists a century later. While each chapter has a specific focus (origins, the inter-war years, the roman noir, the néo-polar of the 1960s and 1970s, the postmodernists, and a consummate piece on gender and genre), the discussion is always set in the wider context of time and space, particularly in terms of cross-fertilisation with British and American crime fiction. As Gorrara says in her introduction, ‘the emphasis is upon a plurality of approaches and critical frames able to generate innovative and stimulating readings of a highly engaging corpus of material.’
For all my unreserved enthusiasm, there is a problem with this book - the price tag. At £75, it’s beyond the budget of the merely curious. Which is a shame, because I think the book would appeal to a readership that extends well beyond a niche academic market.
Suzy Ceulan Hughes
It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
This first volume in the European crime fictions series acts as an introduction to crime writing in French. It presents the development of crime fiction in French cultures from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day and explores the distinctive features of a French-language tradition. Such discussion will be grounded in the study of novels by selected French-speaking writers of international reputation, such as Georges Simenon, as well as those less well known by Anglophone audiences, such as Léo Malet.
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