[UPDATE] Essays on the Fiction of Boy Detectives - Papers Still Needed

full name / name of organization: 
Michael Cornelius
contact email: 

Call for Papers - Essays on the Fiction of Boy Detectives

UPDATE: The collection still needs three pieces to complete the collection. The editor is currently actively seeking these pieces.

Much has written about the figure of the girl sleuth, embodied by such popular figures as Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, Trixie Belden, Cherry Ames, and Vicki Barr; dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals have been published about them, and three collections of critical work (Dyer & Romalov Rediscovering Nancy Drew, U of Iowa P 1995; Inness Nancy Drew and Company, Popular Press 1997; Cornelius & Gregg, Nancy Drew and Her Sister Sleuths: Essays on the Fiction of Girl Detectives, McFarland 2008) are still in print. Their male counterparts, however, have received far less critical attention, including only two book-length academic studies focused on specific series (Connelly, The Hardy Boys Mysteries, 1927-1979: A Cultural and Literary History, McFarland 2008 and Erisman, Boy's Books, Boy's Dreams and the Mystique of Flight Texas Christian UP 2006). This collection looks to correct that oversight and strives to create the first edited collection of critical articles specifically on the popular figure of the boy sleuth in twentieth and twenty-first century text and film.

The girl sleuth has often been described critically as a forever girl, a feminist figure who at her heights nonetheless embodies the full zenith and potentiality of girlhood. Boy sleuths, on the other hand, often delicately balance boyhood and manhood; generally, as white, middle-class (or higher) young males they stand on the cusp of full-fledged patriarchy, looking in to the promised land that will someday be their domain. Yet rather than elect to exercise their privilege for their own gains, they choose to work for law and order, embodying a man's role (usually better than the fully fledged male adult law enforcement officials in the series) while still navigating a boy's world (the first brushes with sexuality, economic freedom and responsibility, violence, the larger community around them.) Though unhampered by traditional roles to the extent the girl sleuth is, the boy sleuth must still balance boyhood and manhood, pleasing parents and embracing (or rejecting) patriarchy, sleuthing/spying activities and first dates, first crushes, and soda shop romances. This collection looks to comprehensively examine the boy detective and his genre from a wide variety of critical perspectives. Series explored may include, but are not limited to, the Rover Boys, the Hardy Boys, Tow Swift, Ted Scott, Bomba the Jungle Boy, the Three Investigators, Christopher Cool, Rick Brant, Tom Corbett, Ken Holt, Don Sturdy, Encyclopedia Brown, and the Power Boys.

Editor Michael G. Cornelius is co-editor of Nancy Drew and Her Sister Sleuths: Essays on the Fiction of Girl Detectives (McFarland 2008) and the author of numerous articles on children's detective fiction. Consult Nancy Drew and Her Sister Sleuths for further points on style and the type of work sought.

Please send 500-word abstract of article to the e-mail address below on or before SEPTEMBER 15, 2009. Finished articles should be around 5000 words. All articles should adhere to MLA style and citations. Please use endnotes, not footnotes (and use them sparingly.) Style guidelines can be requested via e-mail. Send questions via e-mail only.

Dr. Michael G. Cornelius
Department of English and Mass Communications
Wilson College
1015 Philadelphia Ave.
Chambersburg, PA 17201
or e-mail at mcornelius@wilson.edu

Please cross-list where appropriate.