Reappropriating Agatha Christie - Special Issue of CLUES - Proposals due 7/15/15

full name / name of organization: 
Jesper Gulddal and Alistair Rolls, University of Newcastle, Australia

Theme Issue of Clues: A Journal of Detection
Guest Editors: Jesper Gulddal and Alistair Rolls

Submission Deadline: July 1 2015

Forty years after her death, Agatha Christie's hold over her work goes largely unchallenged. On the one hand, critical interest in it is all too often reduced to, orsubsumed by, an interest in her as an author (her remarkable talent, her personality and life, including her own reflexively staged 'disappearance'). On the other hand, the extensive fan community and the flourishing Christie industry tend to steer reception of her writing into approved moulds – and out of the hands of academic critics. These dual constraints conspire to create an obstruction of interpretive possibilities not unlike the "foreclosure of meaning" that Pierre Bayard, in his iconoclastic study of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, has identified as central to Christie's own novels. Controversial as it may be, Bayard's intervention seems to provide a way forward, specifically by opening up new avenues of critical appropriation centred not on the author as a biographical individual and an embodiment of textual authority, but on the literary text itself and its possibilities.

We wish to capture and harness the radicalism that marks Bayard's work in order to promote a new "appreciation" of Christie, in both senses of the word. Such reappropriation is necessarily a double-edged operation: it demands a certain academic reclaiming of her from the delimiting forces of her success; yet, more importantly, it involves releasing the powerful latencies and potentials of her writing, repositioning her in a new historical environment and making her relevant to a contemporary critical audience.

Papers are invited that offer new forms of critical/creative appropriation of Christie's works. Suggested topics:
- Adaptation and transmediation
- New critical readings
- Christie and the digital humanities (quantitative and computational approaches, media history and theory)
- Christie and the world (translation, transmission and transformation across borders, Christie as world literature)
- Christie and the history of the book (materialist approaches)
- Christie and affects (representation and production of emotions, moods, atmospheres; non-interpretive approaches)
- Christie in the contemporary university

Submissions should include a 50-word abstract and 4–5 keywords, and be between 15 to 20 double-spaced, typed pages (approximately 3,300 to 6,000 words) in Times or Times Roman font with minimal formatting. Manuscripts should follow the MLA Style Manual, including parenthetical citations in text and an alphabetized Works Cited list.

Submit to:
Jesper Gulddal and Alistair Rolls
School of Humanities and Social Science
University of Newcastle, Australia

Email: or

Reviews of recent nonfiction on Christie also are of interest. Address questions re the issue to:
Elizabeth Foxwell, Managing Editor, Clues, email: