Archives par mot-clé : dime novel

Colloque: American Mysteries: Urban Crime Fiction


American Mysteries: Urban Crime Fiction from Eugène Sue’s Mysteries of Paris to the American Noir & Steampunk

February 26-28 & March 1, 2014
Interdisciplinary Humanities Center
UC Santa Barbara
In collaboration with
Université Montpellier III-RIRRA 21 (France)




Wednesday, February 26, 4:00-5:15pm
Location: Old Little Theatre, College of Creative Studies
Caroline Allen (UC Santa Barbara) and writer & director Jean-Christophe Valtat (Université Montpellier 3-Rirra 21, France) will read from and speak on the two volumes of Valtat’s trilogy Mysteries of the New Venice: Aurorarama and Luminous Chaos in the College of Creative Studies Literature Symposium.


Location: McCune Conference Room, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center,
Humanities and Social Sciences Building 6th floor


Thursday, February 27, Opening of the Colloquium

5:00pm: Welcome by David Marshall, Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts
& Introduction by Dominique Jullien and Catherine Nesci, co-organizers (UC Santa Barbara)


5:30pm: Plenary Session #1
Moderator:  Patricia C. Cohen (UC Santa Barbara)

Paul J. Erickson (American Antiquarian Society)

“The Mysteries and Miseries of Small Cities: The Geographic Reach of City-Mysteries Fiction in Antebellum America”



Reception:  6:45-7:30pm



Friday, February 28


Session I, 9:00am-12:15pm: Urban Gothic? Poverty and Prostitution from Sue’s Mysteries of Paris to Lippard’s The Quaker City and Beyond
Moderator: Dominique Jullien (UC Santa Barbara)


–          Carolyn Betensky (University of Rhode Island): “The Spectral Working-Class Reader in Les  Mystères  de Paris


–          Elizabeth Erbeznik (Northern Illinois University): “Saving Working-Class Women from Eugène Sue’s Paris”

Coffee Break: 10:15-10:30am


Moderator: Erika Rappaport (UC Santa Barbara)

–          Sari Altschuler (John B. Hench Post-Dissertation Fellow, American Antiquarian Society & University of South Florida): “Race and Media: The New History of George Lippard’s The Quaker City


–          Laure Katsaros (Amherst College): “New York By Gas Light, Paris By Night: George Foster and Julie de Marguerittes”


–          Christopher Newfield (UCSB): “Fates of the Subversive Imagination: Blanchard Jerrold and Gustave Doré’s London: A Pilgrimage (1868)”




2:00pm-3:00pm, Plenary Session #2
Moderator: Catherine Nesci (UC Santa Barbara)




Marie-Eve Thérenty (Université Montpellier 3-Director, Rirra 21)

“The Mysteries of New York from Ned Buntline on: Intercultural Transfers and Adaptations in the Nineteenth Century (France-United States)”


Session II, 3:15-5:00pm: American Underworlds

Moderator: David L. Pike (American University)


–          Dominique Kalifa (Université Paris 1-Panthéon Sorbonne): “The Informal History of Herbert Asbury’s Underworld”


–          Michael Grafals (UC Santa Barbara): “The Mysteries of New Orleans: Asbury’s New Orleans Vs. Reizenstein’s Secrets of New Orleans


–          Jean-Christophe Valtat (Université Montpellier 3-Rirra 21): “Tall Tale: The Mysteries of Ideology in Mark Helprin’s Winter Tale and Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day


Coffee Break: 5:00-5:15pm


Session III, 5:15-7:00pm: The Detective Novel Vs. The Urban Mystery Novel

Moderator: Sari Altschuler (AAS & University of South Florida)

–          Devin Fromm (UC Santa Barbara):  “As Poet and Mathematician: Dupin’s Investigations of the Mysterious City”


–          Christian Reed (UC Los Angeles): “What It Means To Say the Gothic Scatters: On George Thompson’s City Crimes (1849)”


–         Daniel Couch (UC Los Angeles): “An Extravagant Economy: The Literary Prizes of Alcott’s and Buntline’s Sensational Fiction”


Saturday, March I

Session IV, 9:15am-11:00am: Translating French Mysteries in America  

Moderator: Carolyn Betensky (University of Rhode Island)

–          Eliza Smith (UC Santa Barbara): “Flash/Slang/Slumming: The Language of the Underworld”

–          Filippos Katsanos (Université Montpellier 3-Rirra 21; University of Patras, Greece):  “The American Editions of The Mysteries of Paris in 1843: Translation as a Battleground between Old-Timers and Newcomers of the American Publishing Industry”

–          Jonathan Loesberg (American University):  “(Re)Translating Sue’s Mysteries of Paris Now:  Sue’s Narrative Voice and Criminal Argot”


Coffee Break: 11:00-10:15pm



Session V, 10:15-noon: Americanizing Parisian Crime Fiction

Moderator: Laure Katsaros (Amherst College)

–          Amy Wigelsworth (University of Durham, UK): “The American in Paris: The Americanization of City and Text in French Urban Mystery Novels”


–          Matthieu Letourneux (Université Paris 10-Nanterre): “‘America Invades France’: The Arrival of the Dime Novels and the Transformations of the Criminal and Urban Imaginaries in Belle Époque Popular Literature”


Lunch and Film Screening

Charlie Chan in Paris (1935)



Session VI, 2:45-4:15pm: From American Noir to Steampunk

Moderator: Eric Prieto (UC Santa Barbara)

–          David L. Pike (American University):  “City Settings: American Urban Mysteries from Film Noir to Steampunk”


–          Yunte Huang (UC Santa Barbara): “Racing Noir: Charlie Chan’s Mysteries”


Coffee Break: 4:15-4:30pm



4:30-6:30pm [MCC or Pollock Theatre?]


Chan is Missing (1982, Director’s Cut), featuring

Film Director Wayne Wang


This conference is the fourth in a series of conferences on the innovative novel of urban mysteries, which has remained largely unexplored as a global cultural phenomenon.  Starting with one of the first literary mass-successes, Eugène Sue’s serialized novel Les Mystères de Paris (1842-43 [The Mysteries of Paris]), the launch and reception of the urban mystery marked not only the most important media phenomenon that France had ever seen; it was also one of the first occurrences of cultural globalization. In the months following the French publication, the novel was translated into several languages and gained international success from southern Europe to North America, from northern Europe to Latin America, Russia, throughout the Commonwealth, and, finally, at the turn of the century, in Japan and China. These translations were mostly adaptations.  Sue’s Mystères de Paris also initiated the production of hundreds of novels worldwide with considerable local variation. Examples are Reynolds’s Mysteries of London (1844-1848), Juan Martínez Villergas’s Los Misteríos de Madrid (1844), Ned Buntline’s The Mysteries and Miseries of New York (1847-48), Edouard Rivière’s Antonino y Anita ó los nuevos mysterios de Mexico (1851), Camilo Castelo Branco’s Os Mistéros de Lisboa (1854), and B. Del Vecchio’s I Misteri di Roma contemporanea (1851-1853).  With interwoven stories and urban chronicles that feature deep conflicts of class and gender, Sue’s Mysteries of Paris was the first popular novel to confront head-on the modern megalopolis. Starting with Sue’s serialized best-seller, the urban mystery novel provided a matrix of hybridization with other literary or cultural forms: the gothic novel, the historical novel, the melodrama, the novel of social mores, the fiction of detection, the journalistic reportage, and travel narratives, to name a few. Our UCSB mystery conference focuses on the translations, adaptations and transformations of the Parisian mystery novels in the United States, from George Lippard’s The Quaker City (1844) and Edward Zane Carroll Judson [Ned Buntline]’s The Mysteries and Miseries of New York (1847-48), to the influence this neglected popular genre had on the modern detective novel and the making of the Hollywood film noir.


This colloquium is organized and sponsored by the Department of French and Italian, the Comparative Literature Program, and the Graduate Center for Literary Research, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in collaboration with Université Montpellier III, France, and its Research Center RIRRA21.
The organizers would like to thank the following institutions for their co-sponsoring:  the College of Letters and Sciences and its Division of Humanities and Fine Arts, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, the College of Creative Studies, The Multicultural Center, and the Departments of English, Film and Media Studies, and History, and the Center for Modern Literature, Materialism and Aesthetics (COMMA) at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

We also thank Paul Goldberg and Janice Taylor of the Office of Development and the staff of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center at UC Santa Barbara as well as the following colleagues for their support of this project:  Caroline Allen, Carolyn Betensky, Paul Erickson, Yunte Huang, Dominique Kalifa, Erika Rappaport, and Marie-Eve Thérenty.

Our gratitude also goes to the Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation, Inc., for its generous financial support.


Catherine Nesci and Dominique Jullien, Department of French and Italian, and co-organizers


CFP: "Revisiting the Dime Novel": 2012 PAMLA Conference CFP (deadline: april 22, 2012)

Call For Papers

“Revisiting the Dime Novel”: 2012 PAMLA Conference CFP

(deadline: april 22, 2012)

This approved session will explore the largely forgotten or ignored dime-novel–the American pulp novels of the 19th and early 20th centuries, including Westerns, detective stories, school stories, romance tales, or early science fiction. All aspects of the phenomenon of the dime-novel are fair game; papers may explore the dime novel through a new-Historical, Cultural Studies, Queer Theory, Marxist, post-Colonial, or other analytic lens.

The Online CFP List and Paper Proposal Form for the October 19-21 PAMLA Conference, to be held at Seattle University in Seattle, WA, is now open. The deadline for proposing a paper to this or any of the more than 100 approved sessions is April 22, 2012. For more information, please visit the PAMLA Conference website: