Cheryl Morgan

“Typically American? Paris in Contemporary American Crime Fiction,” by Professor of French Cheryl Morgan, was recently published in an edited volume of essays titled Paris in the Americas: Yesterday and Today. This new collection was edited by Carole Salmon, a former teaching fellow in French at Hamilton who is now a French professor at Furman University.

Morgan said that debate about the portrait of Paris depicted in Emily in Paris and Lupin, the Netflix adaptation of stories featuring the beloved 19th-century French gentleman burglar Arsène Lupin, gave her a fitting starting point for her exploration of the enduring appeal of “Paris mystérieux” in recent American crime fiction.

Taking issue with Jean Méral’s conclusion in his study of Paris in American literature from 1824-1978 — that Paris eventually became commonplace and “typically American” — Morgan offers an overview of the role of the French capital in recent American crime fiction and examines how two American writers renew the “déjà lu” of “vieux Paris.”

From the 19th-century literary intertextualities of Louis Bayard’s The Black Tower (2008) to France’s problematic past in Cara Black’s series featuring fictional French detective Aimée Leduc, instead of Méral’s “typically American Paris,” Morgan finds unexpected American revisions of a city steeped in both mystery and history.

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