Crimeculture is delighted to announce the publication of a new collection of essays and to be able to reprint the editors Introduction.
Crime Culture: Figuring Criminality in Fiction and Film (Continuum Literary Studies), edited by Bran Nicol, Eugene McNulty and Patricia Pulham, Continuum Publishing (11 Nov 2010)
This is a collection of original essays drawing on crime fiction and film that explores the implications of how we choose to represent crime to ourselves. By broadening the focus beyond classic English detective fiction, the American ‘hard-boiled’ crime novel and the gangster movie, “Crime Cultures” breathes new life into staple themes of crime fiction and cinema. Leading international scholars from the fields of literary and cultural studies analyze a range of literature and film, from neglected examples of film noir and ‘true crime’, crime fiction by female African American writers, to reality TV, recent films such as “Elephant”, “Collateral” and “The Departed”, and contemporary fiction by J. G. Ballard, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Margaret Atwood. They offer groundbreaking interpretations of new elements such as the mythology of the hitman, technology and the image, and the cultural impact of ‘senseless’ murders and reveal why crime is a powerful way of making sense of the broader concerns shaping modern culture and society.
Introduction: Crime Culture and Modernity
by Bran Nicol, Patricia Pulham and Eugene McNulty
The intersection of crime and cultural production has a long history. The filmic and fictive crime worlds explored in this collection are populated by characters that seek to break or subvert the codes that regulate modern society. It is an impulse that is, arguably, common to us all – its prevalence going some way to explaining the long-standing popularity of cultural productions obsessed with crime’s breach of the normative rules of existence. ‘Crime’ has forensic, social and political dimensions; there are crimes that are ‘illegal’, and can be challenged in a court of law, and there are ‘crimes’ that bear more fluid definitions, determined by the moral laws constructed by polite society. Criminals, formally charged or otherwise, were the focus of hugely popular fictionalized biographies in the early eighteenth century, such as the lurid Newgate Calendars and related fiction by Daniel Defoe, and, later, John Gay and Henry Fielding, while nineteenth-century literature is continually preoccupied with criminality: not only in the popular genres which emerged in the period, such as the detective story and ‘sensation’ drama and fiction which produced prototypes of the noirfemme fatale (e.g. Lucy Audley in Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret  and Lydia Gwilt in Wilkie Collins’s Armadale ), but also in novels written by writers considered more ‘literary’, such as George Eliot, Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. The cultural impulse to deal with crime is most notable in ‘crime fiction’, the well-established genres and modes of crime narrative which, from the advent of Conan Doyle in the late nineteenth century to the present day, have been a fixture of the cultural landscape: ‘whodunits’, ‘hard-boiled’ detective fiction, noir thrillers, police procedurals, ‘true crime’, murder novels, Scandinavian crime fiction, parodic detective stories, and pulp novel after novel about families and females in jeopardy. The enduring popularity of literary crime genres is paralleled by those in the cinema: vigilante films, heist movies, spy thrillers, serial killer films, and so on. Like modern fiction, crime themes were also central to the development of cinema in its earliest days, as in the French Nick Carter adventures in 1908 and the Fantômasseries in 1913–1914. A contributing factor to the ‘Golden Age of Hollywood’ in the 1930s and 1940s was the popularity of gangster movies such as Little Caesar (1930), Public Enemy (1931) and Scarface (1932). The great age of film noir, conventionally seen as stretching fromHuston’s The Maltese Falcon (1941) to Welles’s A Touch of Evil (1958), and its second wave, 1980s ‘postmodern’ noir, is founded on a fascination with low-lifes and criminals, while some of the most influential Anglo-American directors of the late twentieth century, such as Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and John Woo, are gripped and enthralled by crime.
The ubiquity of crime fiction and film shows that criminality is something people habituallyconsume, and have done for centuries. Watching imaginary crime is as much a staple of our cultural diet as stories of love and courtship. This continual immersion in crime complements and contradicts the ‘encounters’ with crime we continually have via the news media, where criminality is similarly ubiquitous but even more real (albeit arguably just as framed and constructed as fiction). All this leads to a key question: why is it in the last two centuries that the fascination with crime has driven cultural production? In order to answer this question, we must surely acknowledge that the points at which crime becomes central to popular modes of narrative coincide loosely with the advent of modernity, that is, the 300 years stretching from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century in which life becomes progressively more urban, more and more shaped by technology, more focused on the aspirations of the individual, and beholden to the aspirations and tensions of the ‘Enlightenment project’, an umbrella term used to categorize a range of developments in post-eighteenth-century philosophy, culture and science marked by a teleological, humanist, positivist view of society and history. However one chooses to define modernity, and wherever one chooses to fix its historical parameters, the claim that criminality is inextricably linked with the conditions of modernity is a common one among cultural critics who have turned their attention to the connections between crime and cultural production.
In a recent study, Masquerade, Crime and Fiction: Criminal Deceptions (2006), Linden Peach has argued that criminality is an inversion of the ideals of modernity, capable of mimicking features of capitalism, the definitive modern economic system – the aspiration towards power, control and the promotion of ruthless competition, resulting in criminality being ‘forever a symbol of [modernity’s] failings . . . [C]riminality mimics and mocks modernity, holding a mirror up to its fragmentation, its excesses and what it mythicizes and denies’ (p. 174). Moreover, crime culture as a model for understanding modernity necessarily concerns itself with the systemic forces that generate the meaning of terms such as crime, criminality, anti-social behaviour and the ‘aberrant’ subjectivities that are the criminal, the deviant, the fraud, the terrorist, and so on. The relationship between crime and culture is more complex than the latter simply acting as a recorder of the former – as if crime were enacted against an otherwise neutral background of existence. Rather the crime/culture complex brings into focus what is at stake in cultural production – in terms of how we organize, control and make sense of the world around us. In terms borrowed from Slavoj Žižek’s recent analysis of violence, crime as a cultural event is only understandable when read against the sublimated ‘dark-matter’ (taboo, morality, law) of modernity (2008, p. 2). It might be suggested, then, that criminality is not simply one aspect of modernity, an inevitable by-product, but its underside, something from which it cannot be separated. Cultural depictions of crime frequently portray it as such. Gomorrah, Roberto Saviano’s 2006 study of the Camorra, the Neopolitan mafia and the 2008 film adaptation, shows how uncannily organized crime mirrors the processes of capitalist production, capital accumulation, the mechanics of importing and exporting – in fact more efficiently and effectively than the legitimate businesses it shadows (Saviano, 2008). Similarly, Christopher Wilson’s chapter in this collection draws attention to the indistinct line between criminality and legal procedure as he documents the process by which the activities of private security firms, which often involve criminal methods, have become absorbed into the processes of ‘normal’ social existence. Both crime and its detection seem at some level to rely on the collapse of boundaries between private and public selves, between our interior and exterior realities, and between the externalized codifications of law and those more internalized senses of law which in turn reveal crime as a problem of self and other.
Criminality does not merely mirror or shadow modernity; arguably, modern culture shapes or even produces forms of criminality. It would be a mistake to assume that crime fiction or film – or any cultural work for that matter – simply ‘responds’ to social reality, that movies and books directly take as their focus something that is occurring in real life, in the manner of newspaper supplements or TV current affairs programmes. Cultural representation does not function as a kind of second-order process of reflecting and recording what goes on in the wider world, but culture actually intervenes in everyday reality and helps shape it. In a series of books and essays published over the past decade, Mark Seltzer, another contributor to this volume, has argued that contemporary crime and violence is marked by the ‘reflexive turn’ which characterizes modernity. Just as modern literature and present day mass media are distinguished by continual self-reflexivity (what he exemplifies in his chapter here as ‘the reporting on the news becomes the news reported on’), so modern violence is ‘reflexive violence’ (2004, p. 559). Crime fiction and film might well refer to crimes which have actually taken place, but real crime is also played out according to a ‘script’ written by cultural production of all kinds (films, books, media) – not in the simplistic way imagined by tabloid newspapers, in which violent films or computer games form the ‘inspiration’ for violent acts (see the Columbine and Bulger cases discussed in this collection by Páraic Finnerty). Rather it functions according to a more complex process examined in Seltzer’s ground-breaking study of crime culture, Serial Killers (1998). Serial killing works along the lines of a ‘feedback loop’ whereby serial killers construct their identity not only from already-existing cultural depictions of serial killers, but from how notions of identity and intimacy are scripted by the reflexive processes of modernity. As he puts it in his contribution to Crime Culture, the serial killer ‘is a sort of nonperson, a man without content. He is not merely one among an indeterminate number of others, but the third person in person – one who does not exist apart from the conditions of existence provided by the technical media and union of cultural techniques’ [original emphasis]. In his book, Seltzer cites the example of a serial killer’s confession sent anonymously to an Ohio newspaper in 1991 which contains the line ‘Technically I meet the definition of a serial killer (three or more victims with a cooling-off period in between) but I’m an average-looking person with a family, job and home just like yourself’ (1998, p. 9). Selzter notes how strangely impersonal this is for a confession, as the author ‘experiences the technical definition of the serial killer as a self-definition’ and ‘takes the FBI’s composite picture or standard “profile” of the serial-killer as a self-portrait’ (1998, p. 9).
The interface between modernity and crime is no doubt one reason for the continued appeal of noir to both film viewers and academics. Noir is a notoriously difficult term to define, with the majority of those who have sought to do so in agreement that it is better used to denote a kind of sensibility which colours a range of novels and films (and also other cultural production, such as visual art and music) rather than a consistent set of generic conventions. But the fact that noir cannot be confined to the question of genre is one reason behind its enduring value in cultural criticism. In one of the earliest definitions, their classic essay ‘Towards a Definition of Film Noir’ (1955), Raymond Borde and Étienne Chaumeton contend that film noir is whatever is ‘noir for us; that’s to say, for Western and American audiences of the 1950s’ (2002, p. 5). Indeed something about the ‘darkness’ brought on by modern social conditions prevalent in the post-war period is powerfully yet mysteriously captured by the moods and narratives in films noirs. The world of noir is a crime culture; one described by Raymond Chandler in another classic essay, ‘The Simple Art of Murder’ (1944). In his tribute to Dashiell Hammett’s ‘hard-boiled’ fiction, a world of gangsters, covert lawlessness, and urban threat and indifference that constituted a major influence on film noir, Chandler argues that Hammett rescued crime fiction from the genteel English world of ‘Surbiton and Bognor Regis . . . dukes and Venetian vases’, making it relevant to modernity (1973, p. 197).
Crime, then, may be more integral to modernity than simply one of its effects. Similarly, the focus on crime in novels and films might usefully be regarded as more pervasive and influential than simply the element which knits together a range of crime genres in literature and cinema. This is clear from considering contemporary prose fiction. A feature of the second half of the twentieth and the early twenty-first centuries is that the conventions, motifs and themes of crime genres appear to have reached such a degree of popularity that they have ‘spilled out’ into other kinds of writing and cinema. Some of the most important authors of literary fiction in the post-war period, such as Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Pynchon or Italo Calvino, have drawn at some point on crime-fiction conventions, as have many of the most fêted examples of serious fiction in recent years – for example, by Martin Amis, Sarah Waters, Paul Auster, Cormac McCarthy, Iain McEwan. Something similar appears to be at work in cinema, if we consider recent films as diverse as Hidden (2005), There Will Be Blood (2007), No Country for Old Men (2007), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), Pride and Glory (2008) or A Prophet (2009). Conversely, just as serious literature has imported elements from generic crime-thrillers, so the popularity of Scandinavian crime novels by writers such as Henning Mankell or Stieg Larsson, which function as sober inquiries not simply into the state of modern Sweden but into modernity itself, indicates that genre fiction has attained a new respectability in ‘serious’ literature as a powerful and direct way of addressing pressing social and political issues.
In her book Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction (2001) Gill Plain provides a compelling counterpart to this argument. Addressing the question of the ‘implosion’ of crime fiction, she contends that, paradoxically, the increased popularity and ubiquity of crime fiction throughout the twentieth century actually plunged the genre into crisis. Where traditionally the crime genre (and all its subgenres) was predicated on the importance of keeping ‘the other’ outside the text (i.e. the female body, the criminal body, perhaps even death itself, or at least an authentic representation of it), in post-war crime fiction the genre gradually begins to incorporate within its universe what was previously ‘other’ to it: femininity, homosexuality, uncontrollable criminal desire, and most noticeably, an excessive concentration on ‘variously dismembered, decomposed, displayed and eroticised bodies’ (2001, p. 245). The result is that, in late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century crime fiction, there is a lack of the monstrous rather than an excess of it. The outcome is that ‘[w]hat began as a mode of restoring order – a series of fictional fantasies that envisaged agency and order even in the midst of chaos – has evolved into a narrative mode that embraces exactly that which it initially sought to exclude’ (2001, p. 247). Explicating the cultural scene of crime inevitably leads, then, to a consideration of the boundaries that mark crime from not-crime; a boundary most obviously mapped by legal, pseudo-legal and social categories of the licit and the illicit.
The sense that crime convention has exceeded generic boundaries and that the crime genre itself has imploded has an important implication for the study of crime fiction and film. Critics have tended to regard crime fiction as a kind of narrative which produces escape not by presenting the reader with the unknown, as in other forms of fiction, but with the ‘already known’ (Plain, 2001, p. 6; Eco, 1984, p. 160). This suggests that it is a genre we never seek to re-read, feeling that we have it interpreted and categorized already. But, ironically, the increasing wealth of literary criticism devoted to crime genres over the past few years has played a part in perpetuating this approach to the field. Crime fiction, once considered something of a ‘niche’ area of literary study occupying a shadowy zone between literary analysis ‘proper’ and ‘cultural studies’, is now established as something approaching a core subject on English curricula, as well as an expanding, exciting field of research. A number of good introductions to crime fiction and film are now available (Knight, 2000; Scaggs, 2005; Rzepka, 2005). One reason for the upsurge in scholarly attention (as the writers of these recent books often acknowledge in different ways) is the awareness that notions of criminality, pathology and deviance are increasingly central to our understanding of culture. Yet this recognition, as well as the ‘arrival’ of crime fiction and film as part of the material analysed on undergraduate courses in universities, means, paradoxically, that the conventional generic approach to crime fiction has come to appear too constrained.
Recognizing the role of crime fiction and film in shaping modern notions of criminality – rather than simply reflecting them, or allowing us to escape them – demands a more wide-ranging approach than simply the study of genre (as valuable as this is). This is the rationale behind this volume of chapters. Rather than an exploration of ‘crime fiction’ or ‘crime film’, our collection is about crime in fiction and crime in film. In the diverse range of books and films which its contributors analyse, we see how criminality becomes a ‘figure’, a trope, by which wider social, cultural and political processes can be understood. In some chapters this involves a study of what are representative figures of crime in another sense: the femme fatale, the ‘conceptual’ criminal, the killer boy, the hitman, the conman, the killer neighbour. Other chapters aim to extend the framework by which crime has been explored: complementing psychoanalytic and Foucauldian approaches by using the work of others, such as Baudrillard (Noys) and Kristeva (Lechte). Still others offer a fresh examination of established genres and modes such as mystery fiction (Peach) and noir (Bronfen, Horsley, Pepper), place previously analysed crime texts – for example, Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley (Pepper) andRipley’s Game (Seltzer) – in radically different contexts, or consider crime in non-generic texts, such as the fiction of J. G. Ballard (Noys), Kazuo Ishiguro (Seltzer) or films such as Catch Me if You Can (Wilson) or The Butcher Boy (Finnerty). In these ways, all the chapters in this collection deal with ‘crime culture’ in a broader sense than crime genres.
The book is divided into five parts; in Part I: Breaking Boundaries: Games, Art and the Image, Mark Seltzer, Benjamin Noys and John Lechte examine the borderlines between crime and culture using game theory, conceptual art, and ideas of the image and abjection. Mark Seltzer’s chapter, ‘Playing Dead: Crime as Social System’, builds upon previous work referred to above, such as Serial Killers (1998) and ‘The Crime System’ (2004), in exploring how crime, violence and crime fiction are symptomatic of wider patterns in modernity. Here, Seltzer analyses Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley’s Game (1974) (the third novel in her hugely successful series about the cold yet disturbingly appealing killer, Tom Ripley) alongside works by the pop-theorist Malcolm Gladwell and the novelist Kazuo Ishiguro to demonstrate how social interaction in the ‘second machine age’ (Reyner Banham’s term for ‘the age of domestic electronics and synthetic chemistry’ [1960, p. 5]) involves ‘small and sequestered, discrete but comparable worlds’ which operate like games – parlour games, war games, murder games (as in Highsmith) – predicated on the activities of observation and self-observation. Crime fiction itself, Seltzer argues, is a discrete scale model of society which in its particular self-reflexivity and rules, functions according to this logic.
In ‘Psychopathology as a Game: J. G. Ballard and Conceptual Crime’, Benjamin Noys argues that the work of the British author J. G. Ballard formulates the possibility of the ‘conceptual crime’, a crime which, in a parallel way to ‘conceptual art’, offers a model of the ‘crime’ as idea or concept, a virtual crime that resists being actualized in a form amenable to existing penal codes. The ambivalent figure of the conceptual criminal – who features in various places in Ballard’s writing but is, in earlier works such as The Atrocity Exhibition, Ballard himself – simultaneously interrogates the criminality of fiction itself, in its formal capacities to ‘script’ new modes of criminality, and also explores the possibilities of architectural and spatial forms to figure as locations for ‘crime without crime’.
John Lechte’s contribution, ‘Crime, Abjection, Transgression and the Image’, engages with its central concerns of the abject and the transgressive in order to investigate the role of the image in the capturing and/or articulation of a culture built upon crime. The chapter opens by establishing the law as Janusfaced, standing in opposition to crime and yet founded on a now hidden crime (e.g. Agamben’s homo sacer, or Freud’s father-slaying in the primal horde), before explicating the relationship between this covert crime and the communicative networks upon which modernity rests. Drawing on these discourses, and taking Orson Welles’s film A Touch of Evil (1958) as its touchstone text, the chapter reveals the modern rendering of criminality as underpinned by forces (philosophic and psychological) born out of pre-existing networks of taboo that stand at the boundary between the sacred and the profane.
In Part II: Revisiting Noir, Elisabeth Bronfen and Andrew Pepper offer new thoughts on an established mode. Bronfen examines the emergence in noir – the cinematic mode which expresses the ‘dark side’ of modernity and subjectivity – of a particular manifestation of what she argues is a long-running cultural association between femininity and the night. This is thefemme fatale, a familiar figure in noir criticism, but one who, she contends, ‘takes modernism’s claim for unrestrained self-definition to an extreme, and in so doing finds herself in conflict not only with communal needs but also all personal sense of survival’.
Andrew Pepper’s chapter also engages with a key aspect of modernity. In ‘Post-War American Noir: Confronting Fordism’ he powerfully re-engages American noir with the economic models shaping the world that produced it. Supplementing the more usual psychoanalytical approaches to noir film and fiction, Pepper focuses his attention on the dominance of Fordist economic logic as a model for structuring American society in the wake of the Second World War. Taking as his main examples the film version of Double Indemnity (1944) and the novels The Talented Mr Ripley (1953) and Pick-Up (1955), Pepper locates noir’s revelation of modernity’s underbelly as a response to the social and cultural anxieties that accompanied the dominance of Fordist economics praxis in the organization of everyday life in post-war America.
Part III: Vixens and Victims: Criminal Femininities and Part IV: Angels of Death: Criminal Masculinities offer chapters that reassess existing gender models associated with crime culture and raise new questions that couple crime with issues of gender, race and sexuality. Lee Horsley’s chapter, ‘Dead Dolls and Deadly Dames: The Cover Girls of American True Crime Publishing’ looks at the cover images of true crime magazines and pulp fiction. Discussing texts that span a 50-year period from the early 1930s to the late 1970s, Horsley shows how these eroticized images of women express both fears of female empowerment and function as corrective comments on female behaviour. As Horsley notes, pulp covers are ‘a condensation of the clichés of the dangerous and endangered woman – categories that seem, by implication, to be inseparable, with sexual recklessness leading directly to death’. Focusing on depictions of the crime victim, the gun moll and the femme fatale, Horsley draws attention to the ways in which these images reinforce textual and filmic representations of women in crime genres, and points to the revision of such representations in women’s crime writing.
Women’s crime fiction is the topic of Linden Peach’s chapter, ‘Contemporary African American Women’s Crime and Mystery Novels’. Peach highlights two key aspects of these genres that have received relatively little attention: ‘the overlap between crime and romantic/erotic fiction’ and ‘the privileging of hate crime and victimhood’. Commenting on the works of writers such as Frankie Bailey, Nikki Baker, Adrianne Byrd and Charlotte Carter, Peach demonstrates the diversity and complexity of the genres and the plurality of black female experience they depict, while exploring their value as responses to black feminist struggles and the Civil Rights movement in America.
Páraic Finnerty’s chapter, ‘Killer Boys: Male Friendship and Criminality in The Butcher Boy, Elephant and Boy A’, examines the phenomenon of ‘killer boys’ in fiction and film focusing on The Butcher Boy (1997), Neil Jordan’s film adaptation of Patrick McCabe’s 1992 novel of the same name; Gus Van Sant’s Elephant (2003), based on the Columbine High School massacre; and John Crowley’s film Boy A (2007), based on Johnathan Trigell’s 1994 novel that draws on the James Bulger murder. Looking closely at the representation of male friendship, Finnerty shows how, in these texts, the bonds that lead to murder are subtly homoeroticized, and argues that such representations function as a tacit recriminalization of homosexuality, safely contained within the liminal figure of the adolescent male.
Like Finnerty’s, Andrew Spicer’s chapter, ‘The Angel of Death: Targeting the Hitman’, also centres on an aspect of masculine criminality that has been relatively ignored: the hitman, in particular an aestheticized version of the hitman which Spicer calls the ‘angel of death’. Spicer traces the history of this figure, locating the seeds of development in Arthur Conan Doyle’s adventurer, Colonel Sebastian Moran, before focusing on four films that he identifies as significant for the construction of this particular incarnation: This Gun for Hire (1942), Le Samouraï (1967), Die xue shuang xiong (The Killer, 1989) and Collateral (2004). Spicer argues that ‘the angel of death has emerged as a potent figure of modern myth’ which functions as ‘a highly masculine fantasy of total self- sufficiency’, evading conventional forms of containment and control.
The final part of the collection: Reading the Criminal Other, focuses on the problematic line between the self and the invasive criminal entity. Christopher Wilson’s chapter, ‘Risk Management: Frank Abagnale, Jr, and the Shadowing of Pleasure’, unpacks the power relations that shadow the autobiography – Catch Me if You Can (1980) – of security expert, and one-time conman, Frank Abagnale. Wilson’s analysis of Abagnale’s complex career – one which has taken him from a picaresque life of seemingly victimless frauds to his current status as one of America’s foremost security consultants – charts the links between the conman narrative, the fraud turned informant, and the emergence of a model of societal control based on the surveillance of self and other. Throughout the piece another intriguing layer is added by Wilson’s interest in the politicality of these narratives; and in particular he dissects with great precision the relationship between the need for not just personal but personalized security – as promoted throughout Abagnale’s career – and the prominent representation of crime as all-pervasive, and potentially invasive, within neo-conservative ideology.
Informants and social surveillance are also prominent themes in Bran Nicol’s contribution, ‘Police Thy Neighbour: Crime Culture and the Rear Window Paradigm’. Against the background of the Foucauldian move from the society of spectacle to a modern society of surveillance, the chapter posits the idea that post-war American cinema (from Rear Window  to the recent films Arlington Road , Civic Duty  and Disturbia ) reflects an anxiety that the modern neighbourhood – that is, the ‘normal’, middle-class community, not simply deprived inner-city no-go areas – is a centre of crime culture in that it is an ideal location in which criminality might lurk undetected and trigger a paranoid desire to pry.
At one level, the title of this collection simply refers to the vast concentration of cultural production which deals with the subject of crime. But the chapters in our volume also proffer another sense of the term ‘crime culture’: they demonstrate that the culture of modernity is informed by criminality to a profound degree, and suggest that the study of how we represent crime to ourselves can help us understand modernity. Crime culture is the point where no easy separation between the criminal and the normal or non-criminal is possible: politics, society, perhaps even modernity itself is shaped by criminality and is impossible to divorce from it. Crime culture incorporates the fluid definition of crime in the modern period – it responds to changing identifications and perceptions of what constitutes crime and revises, redefines, and questions them in artistic production.
Crime Culture: Figuring Criminality in Fiction and Film
Edited by Bran Nicol, Patricia Pulham and Eugene McNulty Continuum 2010 © Bran Nicol, Eugene McNulty, Patricia Pulham and contributors 2010