Universität Erfurt

American Literature

9th Annual Meeting - “Science, Suspects, and Surveillance in American Detective Fiction by Metta Fuller Victor and Anna Katharine Green - A Workshop on 'The Dead Letter' (1866) and 'The Leavenworth Case' (1878)"

Hosted by Dr. Verena Laschinger and Prof. Dr. Ilka Saal, American Literature, University of Erfurt

3 - 4 September 2015, Internationales Begegnungszentrum der Universität Erfurt, Michaelisstraße 38, Erfurt


This workshop will be the ninth meeting of the European Study Group of Nineteenth-Century American Literature. It aims to investigate the influence of nineteenth-century scientific discourse on the genre of detective fiction by drawing for case studies on two exemplary detective novels by Metta Fuller Victor and Anna Katharine Green. We will discuss the specific ways, in which the discourse on photography and other visual practices of surveillance plays out in Victor’s The Dead Letter (1866) and Green’s The Leavenworth Case (1878). A special focus will be on how these two detective novels contributed to the shaping of themes, narrative techniques and tropes, which have become typical for the genre. But we also wish to examine in what ways these two authors engaged the prevailing scientific and criminal discourses of their time (including that of surveillance) to work out a particular female tradition of detective fiction writing. Last but not least, this workshop seeks to foster scholarly interest in two women writers whose formally and stylistically innovative work was not only immensely popular in late nineteenth-century America, but also influential in shaping American detective fiction – feats that we would like to bring to our critical attention. 


You are cordially invited to join our discussions. To register please contact Dr. Verena Laschinger.

This event is brought to you by the American Literature Program, the Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Philosophy, the Office of Equal Opportunity at the University of Erfurt, and the U.S. Consulate General at Leipzig.



Nutzermenü und Sprachwahl