ENG31780 Contemporary European Crime Fiction

Academic Year 2024/2025

The course will explore crime fiction from Britain, Iceland, France and Spain from the 1990s to the present day. Writers to be studied include (subject to confirmation) Arnaldur Indridason, Fred Vargas, Mick Herron and Javier Cercas. We will look at the genre (shifting conventions and hybrid forms), cultural contexts (variations in the historical/political/social forces that shape crime fiction), the ideological implications of representations of criminality, detection and social order (especially in relation to race/ethnicity, class, sexuality and gender), popular and critical reception, and the dissemination of contemporary crime 'narratives' through other media (e.g., television and film).

Students registered to ENG 32020 Detecting Fictions: The Crime Novel in Britain, America and Ireland, should NOT register for this module.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the contemporary European crime novel through analysis of a range of texts across differing cultural contexts.
2. Engage with key critical and theoretical concepts relating to national identities, race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class, and their representation within contemporary narratives.
3. Apply such concepts and contexts to close analysis of the course texts (primary and secondary), analysis that is also alert to generic concentions and their revision/subversion.

Indicative Module Content:

• Genre (shifting conventions and hybrid forms)
• Transcultural contexts (the historical/political/social forces that shape crime fiction)
• Ideological implications of representations of criminality, detection and social order (especially in relation to race/ethnicity,
class, sexuality and gender)
• Popular/critical reception and the dissemination of contemporary crime ‘narratives’ through other media (e.g., television and
film).

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities

36

Autonomous Student Learning

44

Lectures

20

Total

100

Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Each novel will be situate in the context in which it was written and to which it is responding over the course of two weeks (so with the introduction and conclusion), we will have 2 weeks per novel/region: starting with Fred Vargas and French Crime fiction followed by Mick Herron and British Spy Fiction; Arnaldur Indridasson and Nordic Noir; and ending with Javier Cercas in Spain.

The teaching team will address the wider contexts of European crime fiction, including discussion of genre, historical period, social, cultural and political issues and the implications of geography in shaping the works of these European crime writers. Close reading of assigned novels will help to situate these wider questions and particular attention will be paid to the relationship between content and form. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Incompatibles:
ENG30920 - The Crime Novel, ENG32020 - Detecting Fictions

Additional Information:
​ENG 31780 Contemporary European Crime Fiction: ​​students registered to this course should not register to ENG 32020 Detecting Fictions: the Crime Novel in Britain, America and Ireland.


 
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade

Not yet recorded.


Carry forward of passed components
No
 
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback available following C/A assignment/s.

Contemporary European Crime Fiction: Reading List (Provisional)


Arnaldur Indridasson, Strange Shores
Mick Herron, Slough House
Fred Vargas, The Chalk Circle Man
Javier Cercas, Even the Darkest Night

Name Role
Professor Nicholas Daly Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Fionnuala Dillane Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Maria Stuart Lecturer / Co-Lecturer