The city in Italian crime fiction: The case of Bologna as a Branching City

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Born during the Industrial Revolution and with the growth of big cities, crime fiction is often centered around the figure of the detective and his/her mobility in the urban environment. This chapter analyses Italian writer Carlo Lucarelli’s crime series, which includes Almost Blue (1997, translated as Almost Blue 2001) and Un giorno dopo l’altro (2000, translated as Day after Day, 2004). In these texts, the provincial town of Bologna is described as an urban environment that exceeds its traditional limits and includes a vast area around the ancient Roman road, Via Emilia, thus forming a metropolis extending for more than 100 kilometres. This chapter shows that Lucarelli’s crime series is particularly relevant to the new direction the field of literary urban studies is taking because it contests the classical notion of the centralizing city through the representation of a peripheral city, Bologna, as a città diramata (branching city), which is an extending city that nevertheless maintains a center. This is also an urban environment that can still be deciphered and mastered by the work of the detective.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Literary Urban Studies
EditorsLieven Ameel
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003124931
ISBN (Print)9780367645212, 9780367645243
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • city in literature
  • Crime fiction

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