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Mónica Calvo-Pascual. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. 2011, 211 pp. ISBN: 978-90-420-3301-6. ISBN (eBook): 978-90-420-3302-3.pp.



Mónica Calvo-Pascual.

Chaos and Madness: The Politics of Fiction in Stephen Marlowe’s Historical Narratives. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. 2011, 211 pp. ISBN: 978-90-420-3301-6. ISBN (eBook): 978-90-420-3302-3.

In the 1950s prolific U.S. fiction writer Stephen Marlowe became a cult author for lovers of noir fiction mainly for his Drumbeat series, which present his best-known character: private eye Chester Drum. Yet, the academia never paid much attention to his multifaceted, extensive oeuvre. Chaos and Madness is the first volume offering a critical approach to Marlowe’s riveting historical novels. Their relevance in the field of literary studies derives from their well-wrought structure and captivating prose as well as from their portrayal of remote European history – a distinctive feature that makes Marlowe a unique figure in the North American trend of historiographic metafiction.

Chaos and Madness provides a comprehensive narratological and ideological analysis of three novels in which Marlowe deals with Spanish history. Preceded by an in-depth if reader-friendly theoretical chapter that traces the evolution of the historical novel as a genre, Calvo-Pascual’s meticulous investigation into Marlowe’s fiction proves compelling for anyone interested in contemporary American fiction, in Spanish history, or in the interaction of metafiction and the scientific discourse of chaos theory.