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Can the Mystery Be Solved?

Can the Mystery Be Solved?

(p.31) Two Can the Mystery Be Solved?
Barry Le Va
Michael Maizels
University of Minnesota Press

This chapter re-examines the period 1967-1972 but focuses on Le Va's powder works, which used materials such as flour, mineral oil, chalk and iron oxide powder. This chapter takes a closer look at Le VaZ's often-cited model for analysing his work, that of Sherlock Holmes scrutinizing the aftermath of a crime scene in order to reconstruct the event and its perpetrator. After exploring the history of the clue paradigm and its relationship to information theory, this chapter discusses the intimate relationship between these ideas in the work of Le Va and Robert Smithson. It ultimately argues that while many of the tropes of Le Va's work derive from The Tales of Sherlock Holmes, it is the world of postmodern detective fiction, especially Alain Robbes-Grillet’s The Erasers, that best models the interpretative framework implicit in Le Va's work.

Keywords:   Barry Le Va, powder works, Sherlock Holmes, aftermath, clue paradigm, information theory, Robert Smithson, detective fiction, Alain Robbes-Grillet, interpretive

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