Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Call for Submissions - American "Golden Age" Mystery and Detective Fiction 1920 - 1945

 Call for Submissions

Third issue of Mean Streets: A Journal of American Crime and Detective Fiction


Proposals: July 15, 2021

Final essays: December 1, 2021

The “Golden Age” of mystery and detective fiction is generally agreed upon as bounded by World War I and World War II. While the designation is widely applied to both British and American fiction of the period, it has most closely adhered to British fiction, perhaps because American crime writing in the period was sharply bifurcated between Classical and Hard-boiled writing. Indeed, Stephen Wright claims that “It was in Britain that the clue-puzzle had its richest development” and also traces the important revision of narrative structure that became known as the “inverted” story to an English writer. So, in what lay the contribution of American writers? Are there unique features in their offerings to the Classical detective narrative? Is there any cross-fertilization (or creative friction) between Classical and Hard-boiled practices? Do the circumstances of American life and culture of the period produce qualities notably different from British narratives?

Some possible approaches:

  • Interrogate the question: Is there an American Golden Age?

  • Thematic explorations

  • Contemporary resurgence of Golden Age interest/popularity

  • Contributions of particular American publishers to Golden Age popularity and/or rediscovery (e.g., Rue Morgue Press, Library of Congress Crime Classics)

  • Juxtaposition of Classic and Hard-boiled fiction in the period

  • Analysis of the critical receptions of American writers by British critics

  • Selected authors associated with the period

    Anthony Abbot

    Stuart Palmer

    Anne Austin

    Zelda Popkin

    Hugh Austin

    Ellery Queen

    Earl Derr Biggers

    Patrick Quentin

    Anthony Boucher

    Virginia Rath

    John Dickson Carr

    Clayton Rawson

    Clyde B. Clason

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

    Dorothy Cameron Disney

    Mabel Seeley

    Todd Downing

    Rex Stout

    Mignon Eberhart

    Kay Cleaver Strahan

    Erle Stanley Gardner

    John Stephen Strange

    Frances Noyes Hart

    Phoebe Atwood Taylor

    C. Daly King

    Darwin Teilhet

    Rufus King

    S.S. Van Dine

    Helen McCloy

    Carolyn Wells

    Abstracts of 250 words with proposed title should be directed no later than July 15, 2021, to the editors: Rebecca Martin (doc.rmartin@gmail.com) and Walter Raubicheck (wraubicheck@pace.edu).

    Final papers of 7000-8000 words will be due by December 1, 2021, with publication anticipated in spring 2022. Feel free to send questions to both editors.

    About Mean Streets

    This journal is published by the Pace University Press (New York City), which has been sponsoring scholarly journals since the 1980s.

    Mean Streets is a refereed journal edited by two scholars in literature and film and guided by an Editorial Board comprised of distinguished scholars from several disciplines. Submissions will be reviewed by the editors and selected Board members.

    The journal’s first issue appeared in spring 2020, with the second issue anticipated in June 2021. Copies may be ordered at press.pace.edu/journals/mean-streets/.

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