The Fiction of Ruth Rendell by Barbara Leavy
Ancient Tragedy and the Modern Family

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

In The Fiction of Ruth Rendell: Ancient Tragedy and the Modern Family she explains how Ms. Rendell accomplished the feat, basing much of her analysis of Ruth Rendell’s fiction using the Greek myths of Oedipus and Electra.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

Aside from Ruth Rendell’s brilliance as a fiction writer, and her appeal to mystery lovers, her books portray a compelling, universal experience that her readers can immediately relate to, the intra-familial stresses generated by the nuclear family. Even those who experience the joys as well as pains of family life will find in Rendell the conflicts that beset all who must navigate their way through the conflicts that beset members of the closest families.

Barbara Fass Leavy analyzes the multi-leveled treatment of these themes that contributes to Rendell’s standing as a major contemporary novelist. Rendell, who also writes as Barbara Vine, draws on ancient Greek narratives, and on the psychological theories Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung derived from them, to portray the disturbed family relationships found throughout her work.

Leavy’s analysis considers what distinguishes mysteries as popular entertainment from crime fiction as literary art. The potential for rereading even when the reader remembers “whodunit” will be the basis for this distinction. Leavy also looks closely at the Oedipus and Electra complexes and how they illuminate Rendell’s portrayals of the different pairings within the nuclear family (for example, mother and daughter) and considers the importance of gender differences. In addition, Leavy corrects a widespread error, that Freud formulated the Electra complex, when in fact the formulation was Jung’s as he challenged Freud’s emphasis on the Oedipus story as the essential paradigm for human psychological development.
 

About Barbara Leavy

See more books from this Author
Barbara Leavy has written three books on supernatural femmes fatales and demon lovers in folklore and literature, the last of which, reviewed favorably by The New York Times Sunday Book Review, is In Search of the Swan Maiden: A Narrative on Folklore and Gender. Her book on epidemic diseases as a literary subject, To Blight with Plague, paved the way for her analysis of how Ruth Rendell treats disease as a theme in her fiction. In the field of mystery writing, her study of The Woman in White and the history of psychology in nineteenth-century England is a resource for Wilkie Collins scholars.
 
Published August 6, 2012 by Poisoned Pen Press. 325 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Fiction of Ruth Rendell
All: 1 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 0

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Kathleen Hennrikus on Aug 07 2012

In The Fiction of Ruth Rendell: Ancient Tragedy and the Modern Family she explains how Ms. Rendell accomplished the feat, basing much of her analysis of Ruth Rendell’s fiction using the Greek myths of Oedipus and Electra.

Read Full Review of The Fiction of Ruth Rendell: ... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Reader Rating for The Fiction of Ruth Rendell
80%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 5 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×