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Title: Standup guys : James Ellroy, George V. Higgins, Elmore Leonard.
Author: Shaw, Charles Douglas.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3400 3523
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2000
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My thesis, by offering an analysis of their individual stylistic approaches, considers how Ellroy, Higgins and Leonard expand the parameters of the crime fiction genre. The genre is still essentially conservative, a mediating detective/police hero synthesising narrative strands to indicate cause and effect, problem and resolution, thereby affirming the notion of a dominant grand narrative in society, of the status quo. I examine how Ellroy, Higgins and Leonard offer a critical perspective that subverts the artificial constraints of this concept by privileging the dialogic interaction of the multiple narratives of contemporary pluralistic society over the notion of a containable, transgressive, crime. Conventionally, in crime fiction, transgression is resolved with some restoration of the 'normal'. I review how Ellroy, Higgins and Leonard interrogate notions of normality by foregrounding ambiguity and the dialogic relationship between the multiple social narratives of normless, postmodem, society, rather than offering attempts to contain them within a single, dominant, 'normal', social narrative. I investigate how their respective 'languages' offer differing juxtapositions of words and images that freely exploit the linguistic richness of dialogue, of the language of the 'street', of the intertextual imagery of popular culture and of media dominated contemporary awareness. I view how, by using multiple intertextualities, they offer modes of narrative discourse that reflect a media dominated age and engage with a society where the simple binary divisions of good and bad, cause and effect, are increasingly inappropriate. Each explores a society where fiction, the media projection of reality, is often a more powerful source of identity than reality, itself often a result of fictionalised projections by those with vested interests in preserving a dominant social narrative. I examine how each avoids the conventional heroic figure in favour of ordinary people trying to survive within the dynamic of interacting social narratives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Crime fiction