Tzvetan Todorov's Detective Fiction

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Tzvetan Todorov views detective fiction as literature that speaks for itself and needs no introduction. According to Todorov, detective fiction should adapt to its new genre instead of going beyond traditional literature (43). Todorov views detective fiction as two separate entities: the crime that establishes the groundwork of the story and the investigation that backtracks the crime in a logical manner. Todorov believes that these stories, “in their purest form,” are completely independent from each other but are essential in the creation of a detective story (43). The purpose of the first story is to learn about the crime in a detached viewpoint where “[the narrative] is absent but real” while the purpose of the second story is to linearly…show more content…
Todorov categorizes these stories as the fable, “what happens in life,” and the subject, “the way the author presents it” to the reader (45) to further analyze the building blocks of a detective story. Fable refers to the unambiguous course of events that result in the crime. Subject refers to the deciphering of events to a reasonable and legitimate cause. In short, the first story is executed via the fable and the second story is executed via the story. Authors, such as Edgar Allen Poe, make the separate stories as their art by using the fable and story as their craft to create a cohesive and complete detective…show more content…
Poe follows Todorova’s guidelines for the first story by detaching both the narrator and Dupin from the crime with the usage of the newspaper articles. In addition, both the characters and the reader are learning about the scene of the crime such as “a razor, besmeared with blood” or “a small iron safe [being] discovered under the bed (not the bedstead)” in a subjective manner that forces the reader to trust all the information being told (157). As a result of the successfully vivid crime scene, crucial details can be inferred by the multiple straightforward and forthright testimonies of the guests that where present in the house during the crime. The story transitions from crime to investigation after Le Bon is arrested only because Dupin had a personal connection with the man. In this context, Poe goes against Todorova’s ideology in this minuscule detail by allowing Dupin to become an attached character instead of an agent in Poe’s work. In the eyes of Todorova, the characters should be insignificant in the crime. At any rate, the information that is presented to us is, according to Todorov, the result of the crime and it is now up to Dupin to resolve the murder with the given

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