Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Blurb for Arntfield and Danesi's Upcoming Book "Murder in Plain English: From Manifestos to Memes - Looking at Murder Through the Words of Killers"

“In Murder in Plain English, we accompany Arntfield and Danesi— pioneers of literary criminology—on an exciting odyssey to establish an über-tale that explains the motives and meanings of murder by binding fictional, forensic, and psychiatric domains. The authors deconstruct symbolic and imaginary interactions between public and private statements, writings, and expressive artifacts of serial and mass murderers; they arrive forthwith at vivid character archetypes and compelling narrative typologies. Arntfield and Danesi shepherd us by way of a revelatory humanistic approach through an exploration of homicide as a means to understand ourselves. They expertly exploit the multiple murderers’ desires to both document and rationalize their crimes, with diatribes discovered by the authors to be distorted teaching moments on an imagined stage. By grounding the comprehension of murder in the human experience, Arntfield and Danesi investigate a phenomenon at the intersection of historical, social, and emotional contexts. Since the days of Cain and Abel and the tragedies of Greek literature, untangling the connection between tales and real-life homicides delivers us to a period overrun by modern suburbia’s mass media. We are transported through dark fables and fairytales while unraveling the threads of Shakespeare’s, Edgar Allan Poe’s, and Alfred Hitchcock’s influence on megalomaniacs and their utterances. Detailed within these pages are the delusional omnipresence of Charles Manson, the cryptographic messages of the Zodiac, the satanic scrawlings of the Night Stalker, the intelligible ramblings of the Unabomber, the sanitized prose of Dennis Rader, and the lurid disorientations of the Son of Sam. The anonymity provided by social-media forums and chat rooms is now usurped by similar offenders spreading their vapid hatred across the memescape. Reliance on words, linguistic mannerisms, and the lexicon produced by these offenders contributes to a sense of urgency to unveil the linkage between the inborn ‘murder instinct’ and limbic triggers. Here, Arntfield and Danesi demonstrate immense foresight in translating the multiple murderers’ inherent ritualistic behaviors into stories, narrative mechanisms that reveal more about homicide than any scientific theory and that may allow criminologists to develop a predictive early-warning modeling system to put ourselves out of business for good.”

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