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Evening Lecture Series 2021

Murder as a Fine Art: True Crime in Literature

Ever since Eve and Adam (allegedly) stole some fruit from a garden, the relation between true crime and its artistic representation has been one of both inspiration and of vexed imaginative renegotiation.  It is a relation that continues to generate ethical and legal concerns, questions about artistic responsibility and accuracy, the borders between truth and imagination; and which interrogates concepts such as the distinction between legal actuality and popular justice.  

This series explores the relationship between actual crime and its literary representation, with detailed explorations of single important texts and their originary cases from the 16th century to the present.  While there is an understandable emphasis on what is seen as the ultimate crime, murder (and its representation in prose fiction), the series actually explores a variety of crimes (including minor crime and acts which were once designated criminal but are now considered legal). The lectures will also examine how crime is represented in poetry (especially the ballad and the lyric), drama and hybrid genres. The series overall interrogates our very sense of what imaginative literature is and,  intriguingly, it explores how representation of crime came to form the very origin of the novel as a (transgressive) genre in the 18th century, with its fabricated notion of narrative as both fact and fiction. 


€50 for the entire series. Individual lectures are €5 each. Concessionary rates for the full series will be €40 or individual lecture €4 each. The concessionary rate applies to: students, OAPs, unemployed, groups of 20+; TCD staff and Graduates.

Date, Time and Place

Due to COVID-19, lectures will take place online . Upon registering with Eventbrite, you will be sent a link and password each week which you can use to access the online lecture.


There will be ten weekly lectures beginning on Tuesday 9th February 2021. Lectures will be uploaded at 7pm on Tuesdays. Registration for individual lectures will close at 6pm on the relevant day.

9th Feb Dr. Bernice Murphy, “California Gothic: Death in the Suburbs, Joan Didion Style”

16th Feb Dr. Clare Clarke, "A Shrine of Pilgrimage": Dark tourism in late-Victorian crime writing, newspapers, and Jack the Ripper reportage

23rd Feb Dr. Kevin Power, “’Conspiracy Theories Now Blossom in the Wilderness’: Reading Gore Vidal’s Encounter with the Oklahoma City Bomber”

2nd Mar Prof. Stephen Matterson, 'It nearly killed me': Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

9th Mar Dr. Rosie Lavan, “A Woman Problem: Representing Ruth Ellis in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain”

16th Mar Dr. Tom Walker, “‘A true story’: Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman and the Writing of Terror”

23rd Mar Dr. Mark Sweetnam, “'From John Foxe to Wolf Hall: Retelling Anne Boleyn”

30th Mar Dr. Bjoern Quiring, "Karl Kraus, the Crime Reporters and the Shakespearean Theatre of Judgment"

6th April Prof. Christopher Morash, “GUBU: John Banville’s Book of Evidence and the MacArthur case”


Tickets from Eventbrite:
Please book tickets online using this link to Eventbrite: (Eventbrite Link)

Contact Details:

Ms Sophia Ni Sheoin