Cover image for Crime in literature : sociology of deviance and fiction
Crime in literature : sociology of deviance and fiction
Ruggiero, Vincenzo.
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Publication Information:
London ; New York : Verso, 2003.
Physical Description:
257 pages ; 19 cm

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Material Type
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HV6233 .R84 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Crime in Literature addresses the issues of crime and crime control through the reading of several classical literary works. It is not a work of literary criticism, but a book written by a sociologist who reads fiction sociologically.

Vincenzo Ruggiero's wide-ranging study takes in several authors, including Hugo, Dostoevsky, Camus, Cervantes, Mann and Zola, and addresses themes such as organized crime, the links between crime and drugs, political and administrative corruption, concepts of deviancy, and the criminal justice process.

Ruggiero recounts Alessandro Manzoni's La colonna infame , drawing provocative parallels between the way the authorities in Milan dealt with the devastating plague of 1630 and the ways in which contemporary law incessantly seeks new "plague spreaders" in order to legitimize its own operations.

Accessible to the general reader, Crime in Literature offers an original and thought-provoking survey that will be of interest to sociologists and criminologists as well as cultural and literary theorists.

Author Notes

Vincenzo Ruggiero is Professor of Sociology at the University of Middlesex in London. He is also a senior adviser to the United Nations on a variety of issues, including political corruption and organized crime

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Ruggiero (Univ. of Middlesex, London), a senior advisor to the UN on political corruption and organized crime, examines major fictional works in a sequence of chapters focusing on issues as diverse as the idea of political violence (in Dostoevsky's The Devils and Camus' The Just); criminological theories (in Cervantes' Rinconete and Cortadillo, John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, and Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera); drug use and distribution (in Charles Baudelaire's Les Paradis Artificiels and Jack London's John Barleycorn); women and crime and concepts of feminist criminology (in Emile Zola's Nana); crime and violent racism (in James Baldwin's Blues for Mister Charlie and Richard Wright's Native Son); white-collar crime and crime of the powerful (in Melville's Moby Dick); organizational crime (in Thomas Mann's Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man); political and administrative corruption (in Mark Twain's The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg); critical views of imprisonment and the criminal justice process (in Octave Mirbeau's The Torture Garden and parts of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables); and penal philosophies, including retribution, rehabilitation, deterrence, abolitionism, and reductionism (in Alessandro Manzoni's Storia Della Colonna Infame). ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers and upper-division undergraduates and above. G. D. Claiborne University of Maryland University College

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
1 Atavism and Conflict: Dostoevsky and Camusp. 9
2 Organizing Crime: Cervantes, Gay and Brechtp. 28
3 Legal and Illegal Drugs: Baudelaire and Londonp. 53
4 Nana, Women and Crimep. 77
5 Baldwin and Wright: Ethnic Minorities, Hate and Crimep. 104
6 Moby Dick and the Crimes of the Economyp. 135
7 Felix Krull: The Con Man and the Irrationality of Marketsp. 156
8 Mark Twain and the Corruption of a Townp. 178
9 Hugo, Mirbeau and Imprisonmentp. 194
10 Manzoni and Legal Sufferingp. 216
Referencesp. 236
Indexp. 251