Sunday, July 18, 2010

Boy Detectives

Over the past month I have been reworking my current book project, a literary-critical study of airports. In particular, I have been drawing on some very helpful feedback from friends and mentors. So, in the midst of heavy duty rewriting and revision, it was very gratifying to receive in the mail a copy of the just published book The Boy Detectives: Essays on the Hardy Boys and Others, edited by Michael Cornelius. I wrote one of the chapters for this volume, and I was thrilled to see it in print.

My chapter is entitled "Terminal Immaterial: The Uncertain Subject of the Hardy Boys Airport Mysteries." In this essay I consider the roles of airports in three Hardy Boys detective stories, one from 1930s and two from the late 1980s and early 1990s. I find that these three garishly boyish representations of airports are in fact entirely consistent with (and no less philosophically complex than) the broader trends that I locate throughout my larger book project, tentatively called The Textual Life of Airports. In one chapter of my book project, I discuss the idea of "airport reading" as light, undemanding entertainment. In this sense, the Hardy Boys stories serve as excellent case studies for how the heaviness of airports infiltrates the lightness of everyday life in 20th-century U.S. culture.