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Queering the Detective Novel
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Queerteoretisk läsning av detektivromaner av Agatha Christie (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Agatha Christie's novels have previously been studied for their intricate puzzles and her many ways of concealing the murderer and misleading the reader. Her novels may be considered two-dimensional, middlebrow and domestic with their confined, often rural settings, stereotypic characters and an almost complete lack of sex and violence.Thus, the texts of Christie are not what come to mind when thinking of queer theory.However, this does not mean that her texts cannot be queered.This essay explores the queer elements of the texts and provides a queer reading based on queer theory and gender theory. It becomes apparent that the queerness of Christie’s detective novels is formed from her convention-breaking style, her eccentric detectives and stereotypic characters in combination with an abundance of narrative clues pointing towards a less ordered universe beneath the traditional surface of English society. Superficially, Christie’s detective novels may seem to re-establish the status quo in society, although a closer look will reveal that it is not so. Central to her narratives are the detectives, who are operating outside of the legal system, thus introducing social disorder by circumventing police, judge and executioner. Moreover, her stereotypic characters are all performers, presenting a persona, a disguise. This stereotyping is accomplished through irony and humour, in other words camp, with the detectives performing gender in an almost drag-like manner.This essay has merely glanced at ways of queering Christie’s detective novels and future studies could make a more in-depth study of ways in which Christie’s text can be queered, thereby changing our understanding of her texts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 22 p.
Keyword [en]
Queer, camp, Agatha Christie
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-64785OAI: diva2:604008
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2013-02-08 Created: 2013-02-04 Last updated: 2013-02-08Bibliographically approved

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