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Course Information

“…when you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” ~Sherlock Holmes

This class will examine the appeal of the mystery and suspense genre.  We’ll work to develop an understanding of the literary devices used to foster audiences’ experience of mystery and suspense, including point of view, characterization, plot, and setting.  In mysteries, characters and plots are driven by issues of power, crime, and law, but also gender, desire, politics, class, race, individuality, and society—just to name a few!  This is a genre driven by questions: questions of identity (Who is it? Whodunnit?), questions of epistemology (How do we know? What do we know?), and questions of hermeneutics (How should we interpret and understand?). Over the course of the semester we will examine 19th- and 20th-century short stories, novels, and films as well as a range of secondary readings that will provide theoretical frameworks through which you will become the investigators of literary and cultural contexts.

Contact:  Dr. Sarah E. Kersh

  • kershs@dickinson.edu
  • Office: East College 308
  • Office Hours:  Monday & Friday 10-11; Tuesday 10:30-11:30; and by appointment