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Manufactured Exoticism and Retelling The Story of a Crime: The Case of Sjöwall and Wahlöö’s Reception in France

Grydehøj, A; (2017) Manufactured Exoticism and Retelling The Story of a Crime: The Case of Sjöwall and Wahlöö’s Reception in France. Australian Journal of Crime Fiction , 1 (1) Green open access

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Abstract

Between 1965 and 1975 Swedish writer couple Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö wrote a series of ten police procedurals, to which they gave the collective title The Story of a Crime [Roman om ett brott]. The idea behind the decalogue was to employ the crime novel ‘as a scalpel to slit up the belly of the ideologically pauperised and morally debatable so-called welfare state of the bourgeois type’ (Wahlöö 1967, p. 176, my translation) and to formulate a Marxist critique of successive Swedish Social-Democratic governments’ flirtation with capitalism (Lind 2012). The generic template would allow the critique to be accessible to readers from all social layers and educational backgrounds, and show international readers the downsides of the embellished image of ‘the Swedish model’, largely created by Sweden’s ‘talented PR man […] Olof Palme’, as Sjöwall explains in a recent interview (Lind 2012). While this was a didactic and highly politicised literary project, the engagement of French publishing and media with translations of The Story of a Crime suggests different considerations. The reception of these writers in France is simultaneously symptomatic of an ongoing international branding of the contemporary Nordic crime novel and — when investigated in a historical perspective — revelatory of specific internal conditions within the localised cultural setting of this host country.

Type: Article
Title: Manufactured Exoticism and Retelling The Story of a Crime: The Case of Sjöwall and Wahlöö’s Reception in France
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.australiancrimefiction.com/grydehoj
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10042851
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