Shakespeare, Whodunit?

Means, Motive and Opportunity

Doubt about the authorship of plays attributed to William Shakespeare, first expressed in the 18th century, have continued to grow over the ensuing 200 years. To solve the case using logical analysis like Sherlock Holmes, this course will review the principal evidence gathered in favor of the four most likely suspects -- Francis Bacon; the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere; Christopher Marlowe; and the Man from Stratford. Readings and lectures will include historical and contemporary sources. Students will be asked to draw conclusions at the end of the investigation.

Whodunit? The History of Detective Fiction

Over the course of its 160- year history, classical detective fiction has changed its focus from time to time, and thereby showed its versatility, but the basic plot structure has followed the features established in Edgar Allan Poe’s first stories. This course traces the development of the genre in the 20th century as emphasis shifts between the means, motive, and opportunity of the villain. Recommended reading: Edgar Allan Poe, R. Austin Freeman, Agatha Christie.

The Detective as Hero

From New York to New Delhi, people of all ages, races, religions, and social classes turn to detective fiction for “a good read.” This course will define and explore the similarities and differences in the character and methods of investigation of the three principal types of detective story: the classical whodunit, the hard-boiled private eye story, and the police procedural. Recommended reading: Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Ed McBain.