Fall 2016

"The Detective is (not) a Nazi: German Pulp Fiction"
  • Presented by Bruce Campbell, Associate Professor of German Studies
  • Thursday, October 27, 7 p.m. in the Sadler Center Commonwealth Auditorium

 Watch the full lecture

Click to view larger versionRough-hewn, punch-first-ask-questions-later detectives have ruled the genre of detective fiction virtually since it came into being, but why would that turn off German readers? Bruce Campbell, professor of German Studies, has employed many of the attributes of a great detective to investigate the conundrum that is German pulp fiction.

Truth and justice are fixtures in detective fiction, and so are the police. Germans can’t read a novel centered on a police detective without thinking about the past. The police played a central role in carrying out the Holocaust, not only arresting people, but also killing them in large numbers. If German authors want their readers to identify with a fictional detective, they have to make sure the detective is not a Nazi. But how?

Campbell’s lecture uncovers the most intriguing aspects of the under-appreciated, under-publicized genre of German pulp fiction. It is one that has occupied some of the last 15 years of his sterling academic career before, and since, coming to William & Mary.

German Detective Fiction in Translation
  • Friedrich Dürrenmatt The Inspector Barlach Mysteries: The Judge and His Hangman and Suspician (Chicago: 2006) and The Pledge (2006). There is also the US film version starring Jack Nicholson and Benicio Del Toro: "The Pledge" (2001).
  • Friedrich Glauser: Fever, In Matteo's Realm, Thumbprint, the Spoke and The Chinaman (all Bitter Lemon Press, London)
  • Jakob Arjouni's Kayamkaya series: Happy Birthday, Turk!, More Beer, One Man, One murder, Kismet, Brother Kenmal (all Melville International Crime)
  • Jörg Fauser: The Snowman or Raw Material
  • Doris Gercke: How many Miles to Babylon
  • Wolf Haas: Brenner and God, The Bone Man
  • Volker Kutscher: Babylon Berlin
  • Ingrid Noll: Head Count or The Pharmacist
  • Ulrich Ritzel: Berndorf and His Dog and Ring of Blood