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Abstract

This article focuses on the multifaceted challenge faced by academics doing queer and gender studies of French crime fiction. It argues that the French literary arena still entertains a sharp divide between literature and commercialist mass fiction, which hinders the establishment of popular fiction studies. It further discusses the reasons for and the effect of queer theory’s late arrival to France, arguing that France’s strong republican ideal entails a fear of ghettoization that has undermined the development of gender and queer analysis, especially of literature. These phenomena, in combination with France’s centralized, traditionalist academic institutions and linguistic franco-centrism, contribute to the fact that there are no queer studies of French crime fiction to date. The article concludes by suggesting some possible approaches within the very diverse and elusive field of queer studies that would be suitable for crime fiction analysis and highlights the importance of paying attention to geographical and temporal contexts in such analyses.

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