Transatlantic Mysteries

William J. Nichols

Crime, Culture, and Capital in the "Noir Novels" of Paco Ignacio Taibo II and Manuel Váquez Montalbán


Transatlantic Mysteries presents a comparative study that brings together authors Paco Ignacio Taibo II and Manuel Vázquez Montalbán - from two specific political contexts: post-1968 Mexico and post-Franco Spain - who both work in one specific genre - "noir" detective fiction.

In this so-called age of globalization, Spain and Mexico have witnessed an explosion in the production of "noir" detective fiction, which these authors choose purposefully in order to infiltrate the market with formulaic "popular" literature while simultaneously critiquing the effects of the neoliberal strategies embraced by their countries. By locating themselves at the crossroads where literature meets the market, they not only underscore the effects of capital on literary and cultural production but also explore the possibility for their writing to resist the influences of capital and question the role of an intellectual in an era of globalization. At the core of their writing, Taibo and Vázquez Montalbán examine the revolutionary possibilities of literature and popular culture to offer a new kind of Marxist project that revitalizes the Left by redefining the role of socially engaged literature in a globalized landscape.

About the author:

William J. Nichols is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Georgia State University.


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