Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 5, 2018

Ex Uno Plures: Global French in, on and of the Rue Morgue and the Orient Express

Alistair Rolls
From the journal arcadia

Abstract

In the following paper, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express are considered, and compared, as exemplars of what Andrea Goulet has labelled “Global French,” which is to say that both texts convey non-English, and especially French, language use through their own original English. Both texts will be shown to be born in, stage, and depart from primal linguistic scenes: the Babelian confusion of Poe’s multiple foreign witnesses will be embodied in the impediments that keep them from the scene of the crime; in Christie’s case, the multilingual investigation on board the Orient Express will stand in place of stilted and curtailed conversation held, in the Global French of Christie’s English, on the platform of another train. As sites of original translation and communicative excess and failure, these classic texts are about language first and crime second; indeed, the murder on Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express embodies taking place but, ultimately, does not take place at all.

Works Cited

Apter, Emily. The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton UP, 2006.10.1515/9781400841219Search in Google Scholar

Bayard, Pierre. L’Affaire du Chien des Baskerville. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 2008.Search in Google Scholar

Bayard, Pierre. Enquête sur Hamlet. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 2002.Search in Google Scholar

Bayard, Pierre. Le Plagiat par anticipation. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 2009.10.4074/S0336150009214104Search in Google Scholar

Bayard, Pierre. Qui a tué Roger Ackroyd? Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1998.Search in Google Scholar

Chambers, Ross. Loiterature. Lincoln and London: U of Nebraska P, 1999.Search in Google Scholar

Christie, Agatha. Murder on the Orient Express. 1934. London: Harper, 2013. Search in Google Scholar

Erdmann, Eva. “Nationality International: Detective Fiction in the Late Twentieth Century.” Investigating Identities: Questions of Identity in Contemporary International Crime Fiction. Eds. Marieke Krajenbrick and Kate M. Quinn. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2009. 11–26.Search in Google Scholar

Gorrara, Claire. “Introduction.” French Crime Fiction. Ed. Claire Gorrara. Cardiff: U of Wales P, 2009. 1–13.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199246090.003.0001Search in Google Scholar

Goulet, Andrea. Legacies of the Rue Morgue: Science, Space, and Crime Fiction in France. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2016.10.9783/9780812292169Search in Google Scholar

Greenblatt, Stephen, et al. Cultural Mobility: A Manifesto. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.Search in Google Scholar

Gulddal, Jesper. “‘Beautiful Shining Order’: Detective Authority in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.” Clues: A Journal of Detection 34.1 (2016): 11–21.Search in Google Scholar

Hutton, Margaret-Anne. French Crime Fiction 1945–2005: Investigating World War II. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2013.Search in Google Scholar

Jahshan, Paul. “The Deferred Voice in ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’.” The Edgar Allan Poe Review 3.2 (2002): 78–91.Search in Google Scholar

James, P. D. Talking about Detective Fiction. London: Faber and Faber, 2010.Search in Google Scholar

Johnson, Barbara. “The Critical Difference.” Critical Essays on Roland Barthes. Ed. Diana Knight. New York: G. K. Hall, 2000. 174–82.Search in Google Scholar

Kadir, Djelal. “To World, To Globalize – Comparative Literature’s Crossroads.” Comparative Literature Studies 41.1 (2004): 1–9.10.1353/cls.2004.0004Search in Google Scholar

King, Stewart. “E Pluribus Unum: Reading Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express as American Detective Fiction.” Clues: A Journal of Detection 36.1 (2018). In press.Search in Google Scholar

King, Stewart, and Alice Whitmore. “National Allegories Born(e) in Translation: The Catalan Case.” The Translator 22.2 (2016): 144–56.10.1080/13556509.2016.1184878Search in Google Scholar

Knight, Stephen. Secrets of Crime Fiction Classics: Detecting the Delights of 21 Enduring Stories. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2015.Search in Google Scholar

Makinen, Merja. Agatha Christie: Investigating Femininity. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.10.1057/9780230598270Search in Google Scholar

Nygaard, Loisa. “Inductive Reasoning in Poe’s ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’.” Studies in Romanticism 33.2 (1994): 223–54.10.2307/25601058Search in Google Scholar

Plain, Gill. Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction: Gender, Sexuality and the Body. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2001.Search in Google Scholar

Platten, David. “The Emergence of Detective Fiction in France.” French Crime Fiction. Ed. Claire Gorrara. Cardiff: U of Wales P, 2009. 14–35.Search in Google Scholar

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings. Ed. David Galloway. London: Penguin, 1986. 189–224.Search in Google Scholar

Pollin, Burton R. “Poe’s ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’: The Ingenious Web Unravelled.” Studies in the American Renaissance (1977): 235–59.Search in Google Scholar

Rolls, Alistair. “An Ankle Queerly Turned, Or The Fetishized Bodies in Agatha Christie’s The Body in the Library.” Textual Practice 29.5 (2015): 825–44.10.1080/0950236X.2015.1024724Search in Google Scholar

Rolls, Alistair. “Creative, Critical, Intertextual: Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.” Text: A Journal of Writing and Writing Courses 37 (2016), www.textjournal.com.au/speciss/issue37/Rolls.pdf. Accessed 7 Aug. 2017.Search in Google Scholar

Rolls, Alistair, and Clara Sitbon. “‘Traduit de l’américain’ from Poe to the Série Noire: Baudelaire’s Greatest Hoax?” Modern and Contemporary France 21.1 (2013): 37–53.10.1080/09639489.2012.730510Search in Google Scholar

Stott, Carolyn. “Writing Up Close and From a Distance: French and North-American Representations of Belleville (Paris) in Contemporary Roman Noir.” Australian Journal of French Studies 53.1–2 (2016): 79–85.10.3828/ajfs.2016.07Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2018-06-05
Published in Print: 2018-06-04

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Scroll Up Arrow