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Sara ParetskyDetective fiction as trauma literature$
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Cynthia S. Hamilton

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719096952

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719096952.001.0001

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Repositioning the debate

Repositioning the debate

(p.12) 1 Repositioning the debate
Sara Paretsky

Cynthia S. Hamilton

Manchester University Press

This chapter proposes two new frameworks for assessing the subversive possibilities of detective fiction: trauma literature and historiographical discourse. The discussion of trauma literature references the work of Caruth, LaCapra, Felman, Herman, and Luckhurst. The work of Ricoeur and White frame the discussion of historiographical writing. Neither of these frameworks has been recognised or used in relation to the analysis of detective fiction. Both have been suggested by developments over time within Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski series. A discussion of detective fiction as a literature of trauma enables a perspective on the politics of agency within detective fiction. The examination of detective fiction as a historiographical discourse illuminates the way detective fiction can be used to expose the politics of marginalisation within the construction of historical discourses. As this suggests, the two frameworks are not discrete, but interrelated, for they intersect within a politics of identity.

Keywords:   Trauma literature, historiographical discourse, detective fiction, Caruth, LaCapra, Luckhurst, White, Herman, Ricoeur, marginalisation

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