The Case of the Missing Literary Tradition: Reassessing Four Assumptions of Crime and Detective Novels in the German-Speaking World (1900-1933)

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This article challenges four persistent assumptions in German-language postwar literary histories on crime and detective fiction that have led scholars to conclude that no literary tradition existed between 1900 and 1933 in the German-speaking world. These assumptions were that little German-language crime and detective fiction existed, that authors should still be well known today, that only works of high literature should constitute a tradition, and that crime and detective fiction should conform to Golden Age generic rules. By problematizing these assumptions, I provide an alternative perspective on the literature that existed and suggest approaches to understanding this invisible tradition.