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Blonde, Big-breasted and Betraying?: The Role of Women in Pulp Detective Magazines 1928–1941
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The first quarter of the 20th century saw the emergence in America of pulp magazines, aimed at the mass consumption market, i.e. fiction for people mainly seeking entertainment. Many of them were detective magazines and it is in those that the hard-boiled way of telling a story has its roots. These magazines have received comparatively little attention from scholars. The academic discussion on the hard-boiled stories of the pulp era has very much focused on the novels of the time and mostly on the formulaic structure of the stories and on the ‘heroes’, i.e. male characters. The roles women play — mostly minor roles — are often described as subordinate or, as the title of this thesis suggests, as that of the betrayer. This thesis investigates if that description is valid for the short stories in the pulp detective magazines. Using a close-reading approach to 24 short stories where women have an important part, chosen from a broad range of detective magazines from the period 1929–41, it analyzes how the women are described in the stories, what position they have in society and what part they play in the narrative as a whole. The analysis is done both successively and in the discussion section. It also compares the results with the existing scholarly writing on the subject. The outcome of this comparison is that women in the pulp detective magazines represent a much wider range of society than the “Blonde, Big-breasted and Betraying” stereotype suggests.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 63 p.
Keyword [en]
Pulp fiction; Pulp detective fiction; Detective magazines; Detective fiction; Hard-boiled fiction; Crime fiction; American literature
National Category
Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113649OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-113649DiVA: diva2:786736
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Available from: 2015-02-06 Created: 2015-02-06 Last updated: 2015-02-06Bibliographically approved

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