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

By Elena Past

© 2012

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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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.2in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003222

  • PUBLISHED MAR 2012

    From: $65.25

    Regular Price: $87.00

    ISBN 9781442643888
  • PUBLISHED MAR 2012

    From: $65.25

    Regular Price: $87.00

Quick Overview

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

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

By Elena Past

© 2012

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.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.2in x 9.3in
  • Author Information

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

  • Table of contents

    Introduction

    Part One: Beccarian Introspection

    1. Cesare Beccaria’s Disembodied Criminal
    2. Dark Ends for Leonardo Sciascia’s Enlightened Detectives  
    3. Andrea Camilleri’s Sicilian Simulacrum     
    4. Violence and the Law in Gianrico Carofiglio’s Beccarian Courtroom    

    Part Two: Lombrosian Vivisection

    1. Cesare Lombroso Vivisects the Criminal
    2. Carlo Emilio Gadda’s Bodies of Evidence
    3. Dario Argento’s Aesthetics of Violence
    4. Carlo Lucarelli’s Lombrosian Nightmare

    Epilogue: Crime in the Twenty-First Century

    Bibliography

    Notes

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