Methods of Murder: Beccarian Introspection and Lombrosian Vivisection in Italian Crime Fiction

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University of Toronto Press, Mar 13, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 384 pages

The first extended analysis of the relationship between Italian criminology and crime fiction in English, Methods of Murder examines works by major authors both popular, such as Gianrico Carofiglio, and canonical, such as Carlo Emilio Gadda.

Many scholars have argued that detective fiction did not exist in Italy until 1929, and that the genre, which was considered largely Anglo-Saxon, was irrelevant on the Italian peninsula. By contrast, Past traces the roots of the twentieth-century literature and cinema of crime to two much earlier, diverging interpretations of the criminal: the bodiless figure of Cesare Beccaria s Enlightenment-era On Crimes and Punishments, and the biological offender of Cesare Lombroso s positivist Criminal Man.

Through her examinations of these texts, Past demonstrates the links between literary, philosophical, and scientific constructions of the criminal, and provides the basis for an important reconceptualization of Italian crime fiction.


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The Mysterious Case of Crime Fiction in Italy
Cesare Beccarias Disembodied Criminal
2 Dark Ends for Leonardo Sciascias Enlightened Detectives
3 Andrea Camilleris Sicilian Simulacrum
4 Violence and the Law in Gianrico Carofiglios Beccarian Courtroom
6 Carlo Emilio Gaddas Bodies of Evidence
7 Dario Argentos Aesthetics of Violence
8 Carlo Lucarellis Lombrosian Nightmare
Crime in the TwentyFirst Century

5 Cesare Lombroso Vivisects the Criminal

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About the author (2012)

Elena Past is an assistant professor of Italian in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Wayne State University.

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