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Re-Evaluating Patricia Highsmith (proposals due: May 1, 2014)
full name / name of organization:
Clues: A Journal of Detection
Guest Editor: Fiona Peters (Bath Spa University, UK)
2015 marks the twentieth anniversary of Patricia Highsmith’s death, and this themed issue of _Clues: A Journal of Detection_ will concentrate on her developing reputation as an important twentieth-century writer. She died in Switzerland after spending most of her adult life in self-imposed “exile” from the United States. Her writing is enigmatic and difficult to define: she felt that she fell between easy categorization as a “genre” writer and a “serious” novelist. Highsmith was an author of extraordinary complexity; her deceptively “simple” style meant that she was impossible to situate in any one framework. Her work eludes the markers of the mystery genre. Guilt, culpability, justice, and resolution are dismissed as both pointless and empty concepts, yet she often remarked that “crime is very good for illustrating moral points.” _Clues_ seeks previously unpublished papers about how Highsmith’s work can both illuminate and challenge established assumptions concerning both crime and literary fiction.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
- The ways that Highsmith’s work (or some of it) disturbs conventional liberal and anti-liberal versions of emancipatory sexual politics, while claimed for queer and feminist critics.
- Considerations of the ways in which Highsmith’s work has recently been integrated into the category of “American novelist” (such as the inclusion of a chapter on her in 2011’s _Cambridge Companion to American Novelists_).
- The nature of guilt and anxiety within Highsmith’s work; either its lack or the overwhelming nature of it.
- Highsmith, the psychological novelist, and how she may be considered as part of a tradition that includes Fyodor Dostoevsky, her favorite author.
- Tom Ripley: an amoral and reprehensible serial killer who presents a twenty-first-century model of the inhuman?
Each potential contributor should send a 300-word proposal and one-page CV to Janice Allan, _Clues_ executive editor. Full-length essays of between 3,500 and 6,000 words will be solicited from these proposals, with final essays due by September 2, 2014.
Visit the _Clues_ Web site at http://tinyurl.com/aboutclues