By Maurizio Ascari
This publication takes a glance on the evolution of crime fiction. contemplating 'criminography' as a approach of inter-related sub-genres, it explores the connections among modes of literature corresponding to revenge tragedies, the gothic and anarchist fiction, whereas bearing in mind the impression of pseudo-sciences reminiscent of mesmerism and legal anthropology.
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Additional resources for A Counter-History of Crime Fiction: Supernatural, Gothic, Sensational
22 A Counter-History of Crime Fiction Despite this close alliance between religious and civil ethics, a popular ethic founded on revenge still survived and in Renaissance England the issue was far from being settled. 13 In Renaissance tragedies the choice of the revenger is often presented as inevitable because the homicide is close to the top of the pyramid of power and consequently it is not possible to rely on the authorities to ensure that justice is carried out. Works such as Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy (c.
After arguing that ‘No man can be judged a criminal until he be found guilty’, Knapp and Baldwin went on to trace the practice of torture to its origins: This custom seems to be the offspring of religion, by which mankind, in all nations, and in all ages, are so generally influenced. We are taught by our infallible Church that those stains of sin contracted through human frailty, and which have not deserved the eternal anger of the Almighty, are to be purged away in another life by an incomprehensible fire.
From a Christian perspective, each individual is ultimately destined to appear before a celestial tribunal to account for his/her deeds and this belief in itself represents a pervasive form of inner policing. In a pre-modern world where illiteracy was the norm and access to the Bible was restricted to clerics, the figurative arts and the theatre often fulfilled the ‘missionary’ task of instructing the people, divulging the spiritual discipline on which the edifice of society rested. In the morality play of Everyman (1495), when the hero is summoned by Death he is required to bring with him his ‘book of count’: For before God thou shalt answer, and show, Thy many bad deeds, and good but a few;2 Spiritual ‘accountancy’ was far from a jest for medieval men and women, since a powerful rhetorical apparatus was set into motion to make them feel the full force of the judgement that would inevitably follow death.
A Counter-History of Crime Fiction: Supernatural, Gothic, Sensational by Maurizio Ascari