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Rachel Watson, Howard University

Spectacles of Evidence: The Warren Court, Police Power, and American Literature

Spectacles of Evidence: The Warren Court, Police Power, and American Literature

This paper considers Truman Capote's In Cold Blood (1965) as a postwar meditation on "criminal evidence" and literary writing, and reads the novel alongside three contemporaneous events concerning the authority of police power: the Supreme Court decisions in Mapp v. Ohio (1961) and Terry V. Ohio (1966), and the Warren Commission Report. This paper suggests how Capote's coordination of a homicide investigator's aim with that of the Great American Novelist might be understood in the broader context of changing notions regarding police power, and that both had a special significance for postwar liberalism and the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement.