Elementary My Dear...The Modern International Detective Tale

Humanities Seminars Course

Elementary My Dear...The Modern International Detective Tale

Professor; Department Head and Program Director Malcolm Compitello Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Humanities Seminars Program
Past Course
FRIDAYS 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. July 13, 20, 27, August 3, 10
Oro Valley Council Chamber | 11000 N La Cañada Dr


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Professor Compitello brings his popular summer 2014 course to Oro Valley!

The detective tale, born of the work of Edgar Alan Poe and altered by Dashiell Hammett, evolved over time in the hands of international masters such as Jorge Luis Borges, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Andrea Camilleri, and Donna Leon. Our examination helps identify the qualities that provide this genre with its enduring allure, and explores how modern practitioners play with the form and adapt it to the writer’s needs in ways that continue to fuel reader interest. Through the reading of the required primary text and important recommended secondary texts and through the seminar's "investigation" of the genre we will come to a new appreciation of how the most representative of formulaic fiction broke out of its mold and garnered wide critical appreciation and the loyalty of millions of readers worldwide.


Required Reading: 

  • Vazquez Montalban, Manuel. Southern Seas. Trans. Patrick Camiller. Melville International Crime, 2012. ISBN-10: 1612191177.
  • Camilleri, Andrea. The Terra-Cotta Dog. Trans. Stephen Sartarelli. Penguin Books, 2005. ISBN-10: 0142004723. 
  • Leon, Donna. Death at La Fenice. Harper Perennial, 2004. ISBN-10: 006074068X.

Other readings will be posted at Box@UA. Registered students will receive the link to that site to download the readings closer to the beginning of the course.


MALCOLM ALAN COMPITELLO is Professor of Spanish and Head of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona. He also directs the Humanities Seminars Program.  He has been teaching international detective fiction since the early 1980s, directed one of the first dissertations at an American University on Spanish detective fiction, and has spoken and written widely on this subject.





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