Introduction to Crime Fiction
Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.
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This module aims to introduce learners to the (large) genre of crime fiction and its generic conventions. It will also trace the development of the genre, considering early crime fiction and its continuing influence and the various sub-genres of crime fiction. Thematic issues to be considered include: crime fiction’s responses to issues of history, gender and identity. A particular emphasis will be on national identity.
- Edgar A. Poe, Tales of Mystery and Imagination
- Agatha Christie, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
- Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest (1929)
- Claire McNab, The Wombat Strategy (2004)
Students will be expected to purchase their own copies of the set texts. However, we recommend that you refrain from purchasing all the books on the list until it is established that the course is running.
- Week 1. Introduction: The Genre of Crime Fiction
- Week 2. Early Crime Fiction
- Week 3. Early Crime Fiction
- Week 4. Golden Age Crime Fiction: Agatha Christie [British]
- Week 5. Golden Age Crime Fiction: Agatha Christie
- Week 6. ‘Hard Boiled’ Crime Fiction: Dashiell Hammett [American]
- Week 7. ‘Hard Boiled’ Crime Fiction: Dashiell Hammett
- Week 8. Contemporary Crime Fiction: Claire McNab [Australian]
- Week 9. Contemporary Crime Fiction: Claire McNab
- Week 10. Conclusion and Q+A
Who is this course for?
Anyone with an interest in crime novels. On completion of the course students should be able to articulate the generic conventions of crime fiction, place crime fiction within a historical framework, understand and discuss the traditions of crime fiction and its origins, analyse crime fiction in terms of gender, history, nation and identity, and engage in written form with the issues (literary and cultural) raised by the texts studied.
Learning and Teaching
Learning and teaching are undertaken by means of small group work. This is a 10-credit course, so there will be two-hour meetings once a week (20 contact hours in all) which will include:
(a) lectures and seminars: these introduce the basic information to the students. Hence there will be basic seminar-style sessions with tutor leading with talk and PowerPoint presentations as basis for group discussion and questions and answers. Students will be invited to read up on relevant topics for homework including specific passages from the selected novels; and
(b) discussion and group work: where appropriate, students will work in small groups to reflect critically on set questions and to contribute their own ideas.
Coursework and Assessment
To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.
There will be no formal examinations. There are two assessment choices for this course: (a) 3 x 500-word writing assignments (equally weighted), and (b) one essay of 1500 words at the end of the module (100%).
Your work will be assessed by your tutor, who will offer you written reports which we hope you will find constructive. The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are flexible and are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.
This is not a comprehensive list. The sections below work as guidelines to direct your further reading. You should also use the library databases and catalogues to build your own bibliographies.
- Klein, Kathleen Gregory, The Woman Detective: Gender and Genre, 2nd edn (Illinois: Illini Books, 1995)
- Knight, Stephen, Form and Ideology in Crime Fiction (London: Macmillan, 1980)
- Knight, Stephen, Crime Fiction, 1800-2000: Detection, Death, Diversity (Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004)
- Rzepka, Charles J. and Lee Horsley (eds), A Companion to Crime Fiction (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)
- Symons, Julian, Bloody Murder: From the Detective Story to the Crime Novel, 3rd edn (London, Sydney and Auckland: Pan Books, 1994)
- Watson, Kate, Women Writing Crime Fiction, 1860-1880 (Jefferson, North Carolina and London: McFarland, 2012)
Library and Computing Facilities
As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on
(029) 2087 0000.
Accessibility of Courses
Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.
A range of further information can be found on our web site www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn or in Choices. This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.