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Melbourne Free University: Classics of Crime Fiction

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by Sue Stevenson (subscribe)
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Do you love crime fiction? If you do, you're not alone - Stephen Knight estimates that 25% of book sales fall within this category.

And he would probably know, because Stephen Knight is a crime fiction passionado. He has taught it for years at various locations across the world. He has written books and essays and published a monthly column about it that ran in the Sydney Morning Herald for over 10 years.

Classics of Crime Fiction is a free six-part short course, where you and Stephen will explore the genre from its beginnings - the 19th century London of Edgar Allen Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle, down to the contemporary Melbourne and Victoria of Peter Temple's Broken Shore.

Detective fiction was developed in response to the fears and anxieties that beset 19th century Londoners living in an increasingly more urbanised and anonymous world. "In London, the largest of the new great cities of Western mercantile society, where nobody knew anyone else reliably, and any hand might be against your property or your life, the police were established as a real-world protection in 1829. But humble policing was not potent enough in mythic terms, and writers invented knowledgeable specialists to identify the enemies of society through a mix of close observation and the aura of science," he says.

The writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Sara Paretsky and Peter Temple will provide a lens through which you will explore the profound changes that have occurred in Western society over the last 180 years and how an exploration of the fiction written through these different times gives us a snapshot of the things that freaked us out the most, and what we wished could be done about them.

For more information, take a squiz at the course. There you will find downloads for the first two weeks' readings by Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle, and synopses for the books for the following four weeks.

The course starts on Tuesday, 23rd April 2013 from 6.30-8pm. Each night will feature a 45 minute presentation followed by a 45 minute open discussion.
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Why? What does crime fiction say about our fears and our desires for safety?
When: Tuesday, 23 April 2013, 6.30 - 8pm
Phone: By email
Where: Some Velvet Morning, 123 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill, Vic
Cost: Free!
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