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Investigating the Disabled Detective - Disabled Masculinity and Masculine Disability in Contemporary Detective Fiction

  • Focusing on the triangulation of detective fiction, masculinity studies and disability studies, "Investigating the Disabled Detective – Disabled Masculinity and Masculine Disability in Contemporary Detective Fiction" shows that disability challenges common ideals of (hegemonic) masculinity as represented in detective fiction. After a theoretical introduction to the relevant focal points of the three research fields, the dissertation demonstrates that even the archetypal detectives Dupin and Holmes undermine certain nineteenth-century masculine ideals with their peculiarities. Shifting to contemporary detective fiction and adopting a literary disability studies perspective, the dissertation investigates how male detectives with a form of neurodiversity or a physical impairment negotiate their masculine identity in light of their disability in private and professional contexts. It argues that the occupation as a detective supports the disabled investigator to achieve ‘masculine disability’. Inversing the term ‘disabled masculinity’, predominantly used in research, ‘masculine disability’ introduces a decisively gendered reading of neurodiversity and (acquired) physical impairment in contemporary detective fiction. The term implies that the disabled detective (re)negotiates his masculine identity by implementing the disability in his professional investigations and accepting it as an important, yet not defining, characteristic of his (gender) identity. By applying this approach to five novels from contemporary British and American detective fiction, the dissertation demonstrates that masculinity and disability do not negate each other, as commonly assumed. Instead, it emphasises that disability allows the detective, as much as the reader, to rethink masculinity.

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Author:Aline Sohny-Knops
Referee:Michael Meyer, Nicole Maruo-Schröder
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2022/12/21
Date of publication:2024/03/26
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz, Fachbereich 2
Date of final exam:2023/06/07
Release Date:2024/03/26
Tag:contemporary detective fiction; disabled detective; disabled masculinity; masculine disability; masculine identity
Number of pages:270
Institutes:Fachbereich 2 / Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG