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Chapter 9 - The Automaton Detective

Victorian Reverberations

from Part III - Literary Genre and Popular Fiction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 March 2024

Suzy Anger
Affiliation:
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Thomas Vranken
Affiliation:
University of the South Pacific
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Summary

Early detective fiction’s anxious obsession with constructing a respectable canonical lineage ensured that texts in the genre are typically both explicit and repetitive in their intertextual referencing, and early detective fiction stories tend to link themselves back to a fairly limited set of precursor texts and tropes. This chapter argues that the automaton became one of detective fiction’s central recurring symbols in the Victorian period, a contested figure lying at the heart of a struggle over the genre and the worldview that it contained.

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Victorian Automata
Mechanism and Agency in the Nineteenth Century
, pp. 195 - 207
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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