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The detective genre in the narrative of Eduardo Mendoza

by Yang, Chung-Ying

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation is an in-depth study of the detective novels of Eduardo Mendoza (Barcelona, 1943) as well as his artistic contributions to the evolution of detective narrative in Spain. It also attempts to reevaluate and rediscover the genre in Post-Franco Spain. Traditionally, the critics have seen detective novel as a marginal genre which is always associated with "popular literature" and "low literature". However, there is an explosion of interest for the detective genre in Spain during the last two decades. The "boom"of the genre is of great significance with regard to its breaking with the rigid division between "elite literature" and "popular literature". Detective novel has been served as an ideal means not only for entertainment, but also for social criticism. Besides, it provides a new possibility for the narrative writing. All these motives are attributed to Post-Franco Spanish detective narrative's popularity and they are all relevant regarding Mendoza's works. The dissertation concentrates on Mendoza's four detective novels: La verdad sobre el caso Savolta (1975), El misterio de la cripta embrujada (1979), El laberinto de las aceitunas (1982) and Una comedia ligera (1996). Chapter 1 discusses the concept, the ideology of detective narrative in general terms and its two major schools: the classic English detective novel and the American hard-boiled mode. Chapter 2 summarizes a panorama of the Spanish detective novel since 19th century up to the present, in especial focuses on its growth after the death of Franco to help readers understand better Mendoza's works. The following four chapters study the structure, characters (the private detective, the police), themes (the national insecurity, the disillusionment, the proliferation of corruption, violence and crime), space (Barcelona) and literary techniques in the four texts mentioned above. The conclusion proposes that Eduardo Mendoza's detective fiction is connected mostly not only to the tradition of American novela negra, but also to that of other contemporary Spanish writers (Manuel Vazquez Montalbán mainly) for its adaptation to the national context. Through parody and humor, Mendoza's detective novels are entertaining but with special attention on social criticism, and expand the expectations of the genre.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1998

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