'One of the most consistently busy of Britain's home industries during the past fifty years has been the manufacture of crime fiction. Some three hundred writers now contribute, more or less regularly, to the satisfaction of the public's appetite for books about murder, theft, fraud, espionage, arson, blackmail and kindred activities. . . This book is not an attempt to cat'One of the most consistently busy of Britain's home industries during the past fifty years has been the manufacture of crime fiction. Some three hundred writers now contribute, more or less regularly, to the satisfaction of the public's appetite for books about murder, theft, fraud, espionage, arson, blackmail and kindred activities. . . This book is not an attempt to catalogue them . . . Its purpose is to explore some of the crime and mystery fiction of the past half century for clues to the convictions and attitudes of the large section of British society for which it was written.'In Snobbery with Violence: English Crime Stories and Their Audience, Colin Watson explores the social attitudes that are reflected in the detective story and the thriller. From Conan Doyle and Edgar Wallace to Agatha Christie and Ian Fleming, Watson takes the reader on an entertaining and informative investigation into the world of crime fiction. First published in 1971 Snobbery with Violence has become a minor classic of literary and social history and should grace the bookshelves of every crime aficionado....
|Title||:||Snobbery with Violence: English Crime Stories and Their Audience|
|Number of Pages||:||256 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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Snobbery with Violence: English Crime Stories and Their Audience Reviews
Sometime books come along at the right time, just when you want or need them.The book “Snobbery with Violence: Crime Stories and Their Audience” by Colin Watson was most enjoyable. It is a book about authors and books and the love of reading. The topic here is the history of the mystery, suspense and thriller books in the UK. The books main concern is the home industry of Brittan’s creation, manufacture and sales of the genre known as the crime book over the span of fifty or so years. So one can look at this as a type of History book. But don’t let that word put you off. The book is intensely fascinating. We follow and examine the curve of the British reading habits and the authors responsible for building an industry out of crime and mayhem.This is also not an encyclopedia or a ‘Who’s Who’ of the field. Certain authors are highlighted that impacted the growth of this industry. The book is also littered with interesting and sometimes humorous examples of the time period being covered, For example did you know that at one time one out of every four books being read in Britain was and Edgar Wallace book ? Many of the popular authors are examined such as A.C. Doyle (fewer people know the authors name than that of his character Sherlock Holmes), Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers up to Ian Fleming. The book was an homage to the mystery field in England along with an examination of why a certain author or author's character became famous.The book also contains numerous cartoons from “Punch” magazine pertaining to authors and the publishing field. I found the book to be outstanding, informative and delightful. There were also a number of authors covered I was quite unfamiliar with.
Required reading for anybody into mysteries, thrillers, spies, or detective anything books. Watson writes hilarious, scathing, and spot-on analysis about the popular crime-fiction genre. His inclusion of the thriller's social history explains lending libraries, subscription services, and librarian recommendations. The best chapters rip apart, while gently praising, specific qualities that attract readers to crime fiction. 'The Little World of Mayhem Parva' suggests Agatha Cristie's Hercule Poirot is the perfect British depiction of foreign otherness with the just-right amount of cleverness for the reading public. Sherlock Holmes becomes the formulaic success of a smart and emotionally damaged detective for readers to admire and feel sorry for. Watson's inclusion of Orientalism regarding villains like Fu Manchu reads easier than Edward Said. Watson uses his knowledge of the crime fiction genre to write hilarious analysis. Finally, his inclusion of libraries censorship and placement of mainstream material is a must-read for all librarians. Though his final two chapters feel outdated, thinking about Watson's view of James Bond and cinema is interesting in light of the most recent Bond films and Sherlock Holmes blockbusters - making Watson more relevant than ever. Get your British crime fiction deconstruction on and laugh while you're reading it.
This is a beautifully written survey of thriller/crime writing before the second world war. He exposes the easy anti-semitic thread that ran through the British genre at the time; this was linked with a general distaste for foreigners that these days is hard to distinguish from racism, although a racism that was directed against anyone who was not actually English. Stir in a large measure of casual snobbery and you have a piquant mix which sold in the millions. His criticism is fair and well founded as he has a subtle eye for a writer's pandering to their market which he differentiates from the strange mind of writers such as Sax Rohmer.This is a book which will repay reading simply as a work of criticism but his insight into the society which bought (and borrowed) such works is acute and in my view unerringly accurate.
A classic study of crime fiction and its sociological relationship. Though originally published in 1971 and focusing primarily on British writers it remains an entertaining and interesting examination of the genre and how it reflects taste and attitudes of society.Watson, of course, was himself a purveyor of the craft and noted for a series laced with satire. His primary purpose in “Snobbery” was to illustrate how popular crime fiction echoed the temper of the times in which it was written and he does an admiral job with examples from the beginning of the 20th century down to novels of Leslie Charteris and Ian Fleming.
I'm a big fan of Colin Watson's Inspector Purbright/Flaxborough novels, and this book, his thesis on the detective and crime fiction genre from the Victorian period onwards, is also a manifesto for the satire and cliche-busting style that he adopted for his amiable, unremarkable but ultimately persistent detective.He skewers the snobbery of the genre by analysing the style of many writers, a remarkable number of whom (Sayers, Christies, Fleming, Allingham etc) are the stock-in-trade of the TV Christmas drama still, nearly 100 years after the peak of the actual books in the years after the First World War. He examines the effect of the trauma of the conflict on the national psyche and how the clean cut, straightforward (and from todays perspective sadistic and xenophobic) characters were an understandable outcome of the nation's need for reassurance and simple motives in those post-war years. The whodunnit was based on the Victorian melodrama, the doyenne being Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, and Watson (Colin not Dr) has fun with the absurdities of the situations described, the conventions of sanitising the murders investigated, and particularly the social strata which is something of convention still for the literature of the "amateur" (i.e. insanely rich) detective involved.My only criticism is that Watson rightly identifies the parody/satire which is seen in the sleuths Campion, Wimsey and Marple and others - but doesn't take it further, so there is always the doubt whether crime authors (and their readers) take themselves and the novels entirely seriously.
Here is a link to my review on YouTubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjsMnf...
This book is rather outdated now, having been written in the 1960s. While it's somewhat entertaining, what one remembers is Watson's apparently out-of-proportion disapprobation of Dorothy L Sayers. He spends considerable wordage condemning her for snobbery & anti-semitism--yet says hardly a word about Dornford Yates! Yates wrote several works of light fiction and adventure (with an overlapping cast of characters)--& the knee-jerk anti-semitism and snobbery is rife. In comparison Sayers' contributions in that field are negligible. I wonder if Watson had some dealings with Sayers in her lifetime, from which he emerged second-best. Perhaps she negatively reviewed his books. And his excessive condemnation of her in "Snobbery With Violence" was his way of getting revenge. It certainly mars the book--which nowadays can only be considered slight anyway.
While not exactly 'amazing,' I give this book five stars because it is important. Snobbery with Violence asks the question Why were these books and these authors popular? It covers the adventure books of H. Rider Haggard and Edgar Rice Burroughs through to Ian Fleming's Bond series, and explores the source of their popularity in a very interesting way. The simple person thinks that certain books are crap, and assumes that the world is full of idiots who read them. It takes a certain mature intelligence to assume that there must be something to popular genre books that satisfies readers. Colin Watson makes the intelligent decision to take mass market popularity seriously and explore it for us.
for a 1911 theme it was way out of line. I wanted to like the heroine, she was sopose to be so smart and educated, then why couldn't she figuire out how to act. This is one book in a long series. I hated the reason for murder, again inappopriate for the time period.