The Victorian era saw the development of the detective story – a genre that flourished with the spread of literacy among the British working class, and owed some of its popularity to serial publishing and railway novels. While Sherlock Holmes has become synonymous with the Victorian detective, we will spend much of this class looking at lesser-known works in multiple genres before turning to Holmes. Our concern will be to trace the character of the detective and his or her actions that lead to the resolution of the crime – in other words, who solves the puzzle, and how?
At the end of the quarter we will look at Neo-Sherlockiana and the afterlife of the Victorian detective, and discuss the ways in which the detective and his methods changes for contemporary audiences.
This course satisfies the University of Washington's W requirement: students will submit two papers with revisions during the quarter. This course will also satisfy the pre-1900 requirement for English majors.