Murder - a dying art? George Orwell, Raymond Chandler and the mysterious death of English crime writing

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Abstract

In February 1946, the pages of Tribune were enlivened with a brief but witty piece by George Orwell, entitled "The Decline of the English Murder." It comes as no surprise, given the roast beef-eating, tea-drinking readership of this kind of writing, that the genre Orwell has in mind is characterised by its quintessential Englishness. The piece both charts and laments the demise of a specific kind of criminal: the English gentleman-murderer, who commits his crimes in a domestic, often suburban setting: whose motives arise largely from status anxiety or sexual repression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalSoutheast Asian Review of English
Volume49
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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