Crime in Literature: Sociology of Deviance and Fiction

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Verso, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 257 pages
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Crime in Literature addresses the issues of crime and crime control through the reading of several classical literary works. It is not a work of literary criticism, but a book written by a sociologist who reads fiction sociologically.

Vincenzo Ruggiero's wide-ranging study takes in several authors, including Hugo, Dostoevsky, Camus, Cervantes, Mann and Zola, and addresses themes such as organized crime, the links between crime and drugs, political and administrative corruption, concepts of deviancy, and the criminal justice process.

Ruggiero recounts Alessandro Manzoni's La colonna infame, drawing provocative parallels between the way the authorities in Milan dealt with the devastating plague of 1630 and the ways in which contemporary law incessantly seeks new "plague spreaders" in order to legitimize its own operations.

Accessible to the general reader, Crime in Literature offers an original and thought-provoking survey that will be of interest to sociologists and criminologists as well as cultural and literary theorists.

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Atavism and Conflict Dostoevsky and Camus
Organizing Crime Cervantes Gay and Brecht
Legal and Illegal Drugs Baudelaire and London
Nana Women and Crime
Baldwin and Wright Ethnic Minorities Hate and Crime
Moby Dick and the Crimes of the Economy
Felix Krull The Con Man and the Irrationality of Markets
Mark Twain and the Corruption of a Town
Hugo Mirbeau and Imprisonment
Manzoni and Legal Suffering

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About the author (2003)

Vincenzo Ruggiero is Professor of Sociology at the University of Middlesex in London. He is also a senior adviser to the United Nations on a variety of issues, including political corruption and organized crime. Among his numerous previous books are Movements in the City: Conflicts in the European Metropolis and Crime and Markets.

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