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Rural Nostalgia: Revisiting the lost idyll in British Library Crime Classics

Bishop, NJ (2018) Rural Nostalgia: Revisiting the lost idyll in British Library Crime Classics. Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism, 22 (1). ISSN 1468-8417

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Abstract

This article examines the marketing of the recent British Library Crime Classics series of republished novels and short stories. Focusing on works by John Bude, the article analyses the recycling of early twentieth-century crime fiction in order to tap into contemporary nostalgia. The British Library uses a 1930s railway poster advertising Ullswater, for instance, as the cover of The Lake District Murder, despite being set at a ‘newish stone-and-cement garage’ on ‘a very bleak’ road. By examining these novels within a contemporary context, this article investigates concepts of landscape, nostalgia, and the past that characterise crime fiction as well as broader representations of the rural idyll. Throughout, the article suggests that while the re-publication of lost Golden Age novels allows readers to engage with a broader variety of crime writing, the marketing of the texts potentially conceals both historic and contemporary issues about the ways that rural landscapes are represented.

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