R5B Section 2: Reading and Composition

MWF 8-9 | 100 Wheeler | Instructor: Dr. Leslie Elwell

Units: 4

Crime Fiction in Italy

All Reading and Composition courses must be taken for a letter grade in order to fulfill this requirement for the Bachelor’s Degree. This course satisfies the second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

This course considers the thriving crime genre, its history, developments, and permutations, within the Italian literary tradition. We will begin by looking at certain American and British detective stories as precursors to the early Italian crime novel and then focus on the twentieth-century Italian “giallo:” fictions of crime, mystery, and suspense. One of our main concerns will be how, and to what ends, the genre and its principle motifs are manipulated in modern and post-modern appropriations of the popular form. Moreover, we will look at the place of gender and, therefore the relationship between gender and knowledge, as it is constructed by generic norms. What happens when a woman sleuths? Does the possibility of female knowing alter the genre’s course, or change its stakes? In addition, we will ask what role the very site of Italy plays in fictions of mystery and crime. How and why is Italy employed as background, or even protagonist, of the scene of the crime?

All readings will be in English. Students from all majors and those still deciding majors are welcome.


Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading & Composition requirement or its equivalent.Students may not enroll in nor attend R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.