Faculty Bookshelf: Pamela Bedore

Books by Pamela Bedore

great utopian and dystopian works of literature
Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature (The Great Courses, 2017)

Can literature change our real world society? At its foundation, utopian and dystopian fiction asks a few seemingly simple questions aimed at doing just that. Who are we as a society? Who do we want to be? Who are we afraid we might become? When these questions are framed in the speculative versions of Heaven and Hell on earth, you won’t find easy answers, but you will find tremendously insightful and often entertaining perspectives.

Utopian and dystopian writing sits at the crossroads of literature and other important academic disciplines such as philosophy, history, psychology, politics, and sociology. It serves as a useful tool to discuss our present condition and future prospects – to imagine a better tomorrow and warn of dangerous possibilities. To examine the future of mankind through detailed and fascinating stories that highlight and exploit our anxieties in adventurous, thought-provoking, and engaging ways. From Thomas More’s foundational text Utopia published in 1516 to the 21st-century phenomenon of The Hunger Games, dive into stories that seek to find the best – and the worst – in humanity, with the hope of better understanding ourselves and the world. Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature delivers 24 illuminating lectures, led by Pamela Bedore, Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, which plunge you into the history and development of utopian ideas and their dystopian counterparts. You’ll encounter some of the most powerful and influential texts in this genre as you travel centuries into the past and thousands of years into the future, through worlds that are beautiful, laughable, terrifying, and always thought-provoking.

Dime Novels and the Roots of American Detective Fiction (Palgrave, 2013)

Why is detective fiction so popular? What connects such diverse characters as the “armchair sleuth,” the “hardboiled dick,” and the police detective? Dime Novels and the Roots of American Detective Fiction uncovers the significance of often-neglected dime novels in revealing early examples of the subgenres of detective fiction—drawing-room mysteries, hardboiled “tough guy” fiction, police procedurals, and postmodern detective fiction—in the genre’s first mass instantiation in the dime novels (1860-1915). A study of over 100 dime novel endings shows the prevalence of subversive representations of gender, race and class, while new readings of iconic detectives like Nick Carter and Allan Pinkerton reveal the enormous influence of these figures on future developments in the detective genre. The book argues that inherent tensions between subversive and conservative impulses—theorized as contamination and containment—explain detective fiction’s ongoing popular appeal to readers and to writers such as Twain and Faulkner, whose detective writings are clearly informed by dime novels.