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The Spanish Noir: Crime and Detection in Contemporary Fiction (Level 6)


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor and tutor: Mari Paz Balibrea Enriquez
  • Assessment: a 3500-word essay (80%) and a 10-minute presentation (20%)

Module description

This module acquaints you with the history of detective fiction as a popular genre in Spain while focusing on some of its major practitioners. The module will link its emergence to major developments in Spanish history, namely the transition to democracy from dictatorship. Moreover, it will make sense of its popularity in a newly defined society through its exploration of topics such as memory (or lack thereof), urbanisation, neoliberalisation, freedom, the state and sexuality. Furthermore, the module will familiarise you with theoretical approaches to the study of detective and crime fiction. Authors to be analysed include Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Eduardo Mendoza, Lourdes Ortiz, Dolores Redondo, Juan Madrid, Andreu Martín, Alicia Giménez Bartlett and Marta Sanz.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate in-depth critical knowledge of detective fiction as a genre, including being familiar with current debates and approaches to the subject, particularly as it refers to Spain
  • demonstrate awareness of a variety of critical approaches to the study of Spanish popular culture, and how by choosing an approach, critics condition their object of study and their interpretation and placement within the history of Spanish literature
  • analyse and critically assess some of the dominant themes, salient authors and novels within the crime fiction Spanish tradition
  • demonstrate skills in close textual analysis
  • show critical awareness of the meanings and functions of crime and detection within the social and cultural contexts of their production and reception.
  • engage with complex literary criticism material.