Crime in Fiction: Defoe and Dickens to Spark, Highsmith and McEwan

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Why did stories of criminals become irresistible for novelists? Starting with works like Moll Flanders in the eighteenth century, this lecture goes on to examine the role of criminals in Dickens, keen to let his readers and characters experience what Pip in Great Expectations calls ‘the taint of crime’. To what ends? 

How does the recent genre fiction of novelists like Patricia Highsmith and Ruth Rendell return us to the transgressive pleasures of Defoe’s criminal autobiographies?

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This event was on Wed, 24 Feb 2021

John Mullan, Visiting Professor of English Literature

Professor John Mullan

Visiting Professor of English Literature

Professor John Mullan is the Lord Northcliffe Chair of Modern English Literature at University College London. He is a specialist in eighteenth-century literature and is at present writing the volume of the Oxford English Literary History that will cover the period from 1709 to 1784.

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