Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor's Name

Kenneth Johnson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Joan Baker

Third Advisor's Name

Gregory Bowe

Fourth Advisor's Name

Mary Jane Elkins

Date of Defense

2-19-1999

Abstract

This thesis argues that forces of literary regionalism and postmodern culture are behind the explosion of crime fiction being written in and about South Florida by a growing number of resident authors.

Research included four methods of investigation: 1. A critical reading of many of the novels that make up the sub-genre. 2. A study of the theories of regionalism, postmodernism and the genre of the crime fiction. 3. Interviews with a number of the authors and a prominent Miami book seller. 4. Sociological studies of Miami in terms of historical events and their cultural significance.

Today's South Florida crime fiction authors cast their narratives in the old genre of the detective novel where characters are delineated according to traditional definitions of good and evil. Evil characters threaten established order. What makes South Florida crime fiction different from traditional detective fiction is its interest in the exotic, postmodern culture and setting of South Florida. Like the region, the villains are exotic and the order that they threaten is postmodern. There is less of an interest in attributing a larger social meaning to the heroes. Rather, there is an ontological interest in the playing out of good against evil in an almost mythical setting that magnifies economic, environmental and racial issues. There is a unique cultural diversity of the city due to the geographical location of Miami in relationship to Latin America and the Caribbean, and the political forces at work in the region. South Florida's subtropical climate, fragile ecosystem, and elements of frontier life in a cosmopolitan city work to support Miami crime fiction. The setting personifies the unpredictability and pastiche of a postmodern world and may call for a new definition for literature that relies on non-traditional regional characteristics.

Identifier

FI14031604

Comments

Bound volume is missing pp. 108-116 of the thesis.

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