Crime, Fear and the Law in True Crime Stories (Crime Files) by Anita Biressi

By Anita Biressi

Anita Biressi examines the ancient origins and improvement of precise crime and its evolution into specified modern kinds. Embracing a number of non-fiction bills together with actual crime books and magazines, legislations and order tv, and well known journalism, Biressi strains how they harness and discover present issues approximately legislation and order, crime and punishment, and private vulnerability.

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Sara Knox’s book Murder: A Tale of Modern American Life (1998) investigates the gendered appeal and function of stories of murder within the context of the US. Her study includes fiction, medico-legal texts, press coverage and true crime accounts of notorious homicides. Knox devotes considerable thought to the often neglected position of the victim in the narration of contemporary murder, focusing particularly on how racial and gendered power relations are made overt in the actual perpetration of violent crime and then reinforced by its media coverage.

10). These themes situate true crime within a broader philosophical context that is also characteristic of other ‘true’ story genres such as the ‘true romance’. First, the true story must be an exemplary parable about the relationship between worldly aspirations (avarice, ambition, sexual desire) and metaphysical aspirations (happiness), and second, stories about other people are also about ‘us’. In fact, although greed or jealousy often motivates crime, many true crime books focus on atypical and inexplicable violent crime where motivation is obscure or psychologically complex.

To borrow a phrase from Roland Barthes, in both cases ‘the referent adheres’; in both cases representation and its referent are glued together ‘like the condemned man and the corpse in certain tortures’ (Barthes 1984: 6). While the practice of reinterpreting the Thompson images in the light of new information is a reminder of the dubiousness of any claims that the photograph represents a fixed reality, none the less for the viewer this knowledge of a horrific family drama seems to set a seal upon interpretation.

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