Calvo-Pascual, Mónica. Chaos and Madness: The Politics of Fiction in Stephen Marlowe’s Historical Narratives. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 2011. VII, 211 pp. (Costerus NS 188)

ISBN: 978-90-420-3301-6         Paper
ISBN: 978-90-420-3302-3         E-Book
Online info:

In the 1950s prolific U.S. fiction writer Stephen Marlowe became a cult author for lovers of noir fiction mainly for his Drumbeat series, which present his best-known character: private eye Chester Drum. Yet, the academia never paid much attention to his multifaceted, extensive oeuvre. Chaos and Madness is the first volume offering a critical approach to Marlowe’s riveting historical novels. Their relevance in the field of literary studies derives from their well-wrought structure and captivating prose as well as from their portrayal of remote European history - a distinctive feature that makes Marlowe a unique figure in the North American trend of historiographic metafiction.
Chaos and Madness provides a comprehensive narratological and ideological analysis of three novels in which Marlowe deals with Spanish history. Preceded by an in-depth if reader-friendly theoretical chapter that traces the evolution of the historical novel as a genre, Calvo-Pascual’s meticulous investigation into Marlowe’s fiction proves compelling for anyone interested in contemporary American fiction, in Spanish history, or in the interaction of metafiction and the scientific discourse of chaos theory.

Table of Contents

History and the Novel: An Overview
Mastering the Art: The Historical Novel and Local Color
Between Magic and Madness: A Portrait of Spain and Its Neuroses
Postmodern Critique and the Hand of the Historian
Chaos, Complexity and Interpretation
Beyond Reference: Historiographic Metafiction Impinged by Science Fiction
The Novel Never Ends: On Alternative Worlds, Jewish Connections and Infinite Regress
Concluding Remarks
Appendix I
Appendix II



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