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Publication Announcement

Umeå researchers behind new book about rape in 'Millennium' crime novels

01 November 2012 Umeå universitet

On 2 November, a new book will be released that explores the role that rape plays in contemporary crime fiction novels. The collection is gathered under the title: "Rape in Stieg Larsson's 'Millennium' Trilogy and Beyond: Contemporary Scandinavian and Anglophone Crime Fiction." It features literature, film and language researchers from Sweden, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.

Ever since Edgar Allan Poe's pioneering “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” in 1841, the crime fiction genre has reflected society and social change. Similarly, the nature of crime, murderers’ motives, and descriptions of victims and their sufferings are varied. Pedophilia, for example, was an unknown phenomenon in crime novels from 1930s and 1940s, while it became a staple of British and American crime novels in the 1990s.

Some of the researchers who have focused on crime fiction literature as a litmus test in social development are Katarina Gregersdoter and Berit Åström from Umeå University in Sweden and Tanya Horeck from Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom.  All three are editors and the author of several essays in a new book: Rape in Stieg Larsson's 'Millennium' Trilogy and Beyond: Contemporary Scandinavian and Anglophone Crime Fiction. The essays discuss and theorise depictions of rape in contemporary Scandinavian and English detective literature.

With its powerful images of rape and revenge, Stieg Larsson's bestselling Millennium trilogy has made a major impact on the contemporary crime novel. This collection explores the role that rape plays in contemporary crime fiction, examining the sexually violent images at the heart of the Millennium trilogy in its many guises – from novels, to Swedish film adaptations, to Hollywood blockbuster. At the centre of discussion is Larsson's female heroine, Lisbeth Salander, one of popular culture's most unforgettable characters. The collection evaluates her status as a twenty-first century heroine, arguing that what makes Salander so interesting and culturally relevant, is her blend of vulnerability and violence.

Putting Larsson's work into dialogue with a range of contemporary Scandinavian and Anglophone crime novelists, including Jo Nesbø, Håkan Nesser, Mo Hayder and Val McDermid, these essays offer cross-cultural insights into how notions of sexual violence, victims and vengeance are constructed. Opening up a range of vital new questions, the book interrogates the very terms by which we understand and encounter violent images in popular fiction and film.

Kataraina Gregersdotter and Berit Åström are both senior lecturers in English at the Department of Language Studies Umeå University, and Horeck is senior lecturer in film studies at Anglia Ruskin University. There are eight other researchers who have contributed to the book from the UK, Sweden, Canada and the United States.

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