An intersection of studies within the politics of representation, the cultures of US empire, and haunted national narratives, this article examines three works of historical crime fiction that offer encounters with spectral American subjects: Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy (1925); Caleb Carr’s The Alienist (1994); and Dana Hand’s Deep Creek (2010). The crimes that drive the investigations in all three novels are deeply rooted in the sociological problems that accompanied the industrial growth of the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. In their drive to uncover the complex legal processes and corruptive practices that produce systemic forms of oppression in the US, these texts offer powerful insight into the experiences of marginal citizens who are capable of mad, criminal acts, and reveal the complex relationship of state subjects to an American republic that is at once a political ideal and a crucible of dysfunction.


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pp. 77-100
Launched on MUSE
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