1930's Detective Fiction

Ref: C3528549

This course will examine the enduring appeal of crime fiction from this decade, consider the formation of the Crime Writers Association and key figures in it, and explore the characteristics of the 'golden age'. It cannot be denied that female crime writers did dominate in this period but this course will look at male and female writers who published crime fiction in the 1930s and consider their enduring appeal.

Course aim

The course will explore a range of fiction from the Golden Age of crime writing, specifically from the 1930s, and consider the enduring appeal of this genre and period.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No prior knowledge of these authors or their works is necessary.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Show an awareness and understanding of the golden age period of crime fiction.
  • Consider a range of texts from the period and recognise the main features that define crime fiction in the 1930s.
  • Be conversant with aspects of fiction such as narrative structure, point of view, omniscient and unreliable narrators.
  • Be confident in class participation and in the evaluation of primary source material.
  • Be confident of reading golden age crime fiction within its cultural and social contexts.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Students will need to have a copy of the appropriate text available to them on the appropriate week. The text can ben in the form of a hard copy or on an electronic device. Pens and paper for note taking would also be useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Christie's 'The Murder at the Vicarage'; Allinigham's 'Police at the Funeral'; Chesterton's 'The Scandal of Father Brown'; Bude's 'The Sussex Downs Murder'; Christie's 'The A B C Murders'; Sayer's 'Busman's Holiday'

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet

1930's Detective Fiction


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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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