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Scandinavian Crime Fiction

This semester Jeff Hancks, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, is teaching a new class in the Honors College called Scandinavian Crime Fiction: Death in a Cold Climate. This course builds on Jeff’s background in Scandinavian Studies, and it is the first class completely devoted to Scandinavian crime fiction in Illinois. “I am really excited to bring this class to Western's Honors College”, said Hancks.  “Scandinavia is a fascinating part of the world, and I hope my students develop an interest in the area's history and culture.”

Here is the course description:

Fifteen years before Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series (2006) captivated readers around the world, the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Iceland) were well on their way to becoming the world’s premier source for the crime fiction genre. This course examines some of the best Scandinavian crime fiction novels of the past twenty years. It includes a discussion of how and why a small region on Europe’s periphery has be-come a global literary epicenter, how authors infuse Scandinavian politics and culture and the unique Scandinavian landscape into their work, and how Scandinavia has been represented by Anglo-American filmmakers in BBC and Hollywood dramatizations of the block-buster novels.

When asked about the class, John Johnson, a senior at WIU stated, “It’s a really cool class.  I’ve already read all of the books.”

The books being read and discussed are:
Smilla's Sense of Snow, by Peter Høeg (Denmark); Jar City: A Reykjavík Thriller by Arnaldur Ingriðason (Iceland); Blackwater by Kerstin Ekman (Sweden); The Indian Bride by Karin Fossum (Norway); and Nights of Awe by Harri Nykänen (Finland).




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