Eva Burke


This essay will examine the detective fiction of Edgar Allan Poe (published between 1841 and 1844) in conjunction with Catherine Louisa Pirkis’ 1894 work The Experiences of Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective in terms of their diverging authorial approaches to narratives of detection. While Poe, writing in the years preceding the first significant mobilisation of American women towards the attainment of civil liberties, is credited with creating the figure of the male detective, Auguste Dupin, for whom the paradigms of detection rested on a gendered dichotomy between the actively logical masculine and the passive (and usually dead) feminine, Pirkis’ seminal collection introduces a female investigator, Loveday Brooke, whose successful appropriation of the detective role challenged these same paradigms. Although the temporal distance between Dupin and Brooke is considerable, both texts are significant in terms of the degree to which they establish or reinscribe the gendered parameters of canonical detective fiction.

Author Biography

Having recently completed an MPhil in Popular Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, Eva Burke is preparing to embark on a PhD at Trinity College, Dublin in early 2016. Her research interests include the gendered dynamics of victimhood in popular crime fiction and depictions of the monstrous feminine in horror fiction.