• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Witty and accessible, Popular Culture Genres is a fascinating study of genres and genre criticism. Author Arthur Asa Berger empowers readers to make their own analysis by providing the methods and examples of good criticism. Part I deals with genres from a critical perspective, asking questions such as: How do the conventions of different genres affect the creation and production of texts and the audiences of those texts? Do certain genres have significant social and political implications? And, how do genres evolve? Part II takes a look at five “classic” popular texts (in both their novel and film versions). Viewing these works in the context of their respective genres is not only instructive in nature but captivating reading as well.

The Classic Mystery: A Case Study
The classic mystery: A case study
Historical Roots of the Mystery

There is general agreement among scholars that the detective mystery story, with a fictional character solving a mystery by using logic and deductive reasoning, began with Edgar Allan Poe's story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” It was published in April of 1841. Poe created a character, C. August Dupin, who has been described by Ellery Queen as “the world's first fictional detective in the modern sense” (Loundes, 1970). Poe wrote two other stories featuring Dupin—“The Mystery of Marie Rôget” and “The Purloined Letter.”

In these stories Poe established many of the conventions of the modern classic mystery story. For one thing, his protagonist, C. August Dupin, is somewhat eccentric, thus ...

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