Photo: Howard Haycraft (1941)

Stanley J. , Howard Haycraft & Wilbur C. Hadden [editors] Kunitz

Ten Great Mysteries.

Too low to display
Stanley J. Kunitz and Howard Haycraft - Editors

A Treasury of Great Mysteries

Too low to display

Murder for Pleasure: The Life and Times of the Detective Story


Stanley Jasspon Kunitz; Editor-Howard Haycraft

Howard Haycraft and John Beecroft is currently considered a "single author." If one or more works are by a distinct, homonymous authors, go ahead and .

NEW YORK — Howard Haycraft, a publishing executive, editor and author of a classic history of the mystery novel, died Tuesday in Hightstown, N.J. He was 86.

eds. Howard Haycraft & John Beecroft

  • Quick View

    Boys' Second Book of Great…

    by Howard Haycraft
    Average rating: 0.0 Average rating:
    • Hardcover  $11.60
  • eds. Howard Haycraft & John Beecroft

    For several years after college Kunitz worked for the H. W. Wilson Company in New York as an editor of the Weekly Library Bulletin. During this time he began work on a series of biographical dictionaries of American and English authors with Howard Haycraft. These volumes where published between the years of 1931 and 1952. Also, in 1930, while working as an editor Kunitz’s first book of poetry, Intellectual Things, was published. Unfortunately, this book was barely recognized and thus Kunitz did not publish his next book, Passport to the War: A Selection of Poems, until 1944, which again was looked down upon by critics. During this time he did, however, have many of his poems published in several magazines. In 1958 Kunitz’s luck with the literary world would change when he received the Pulitzer Prize for his Selected Poems.

    Lee Horsley's Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction begins with a characteristically trenchant epigraph from Raymond Chandler on the subject of detective genre fiction and its criticism. "The academicians have never got their dead hands on it. It is still fluid, still too various for easy classification, still putting out shoots in all directions" (1). Identifying the problems and dangers of genre criticism (and striking an uncannily poststructuralist note while doing so), Chandler frets about the procrustean effects of institutionalized criticism on a genre that he describes as a rhizomatic "putting out [of] shoots." And yet, if the academicians had failed to get their dead hands on it by the midcentury when Chandler made this observation, it was not for lack of trying. In his landmark 1946 anthology, The Art of the Mystery Story, Howard Haycraft documents how the new criticism of English departments in the interwar period had already produced a large body of critical writing on detective and mystery fiction. [End Page 876] Surveying this criticism at the midcentury, Haycraft observed four main categories of academic criticism: "the-viewers-with-alarm" who perceive the genre as a type of low cultural threat to the taste and morals of the nation; "the-seekers-after-truth," who are "primarily concerned with the still unanswered 'why?' of crime fiction"; "the fundamentalists" who "would restrict the form forever to the narrow confines of 'pure' detective story"; and "the non-fencers-in" whose interest in the genre is premised upon its "unlimited room" for variation and hybridity (541). Although a general move toward historicism is everywhere detectable in the scholarship of the last decades, the three new studies under review here attest to the shrewdness of Howard Haycraft's metacritical overview. His classifications remain relevant because they identify fundamental tensions and questions that must animate any criticism that takes a genuinely—perhaps, disconcertingly—popular genre literature as its object: what is genre and why is it popular?