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A History of American Crime Fiction places crime fiction within a context of aesthetic practices and experiments, intellectual concerns, and historical debates generally reserved for canonical literary history. Toward that end, the book is divided into sections that reflect the periods that commonly organize American literary history, with chapters highlighting crime fiction's reciprocal relationships with early American literature, romanticism, realism, modernism and postmodernism. It surveys everything from 17th-century execution sermons, the detective fiction of Harriet Spofford and T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, to the films of David Lynch, HBO's The Sopranos, and the podcast Serial, while engaging a wide variety of critical methods. As a result, this book expands crime fiction's significance beyond the boundaries of popular genres and explores the symbiosis between crime fiction and canonical literature that sustains and energizes both.