© 2014

Cultural Constructions of the Femme Fatale

From Pandora’s Box to Amanda Knox


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Stevie Simkin
    Pages 1-19
  3. Stevie Simkin
    Pages 20-49
  4. Stevie Simkin
    Pages 50-92
  5. Stevie Simkin
    Pages 93-139
  6. Stevie Simkin
    Pages 140-186
  7. Stevie Simkin
    Pages 187-199
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 200-233

About this book


The figure of the beautiful but lethal woman has haunted the Western imagination from ancient myth to contemporary film. Looking at news media, cinema, drama and other cultural forms, this study considers the interaction between representations of 'real life' 'femmes fatales' and their fictional counterparts.


Femme Fatale Amanda Knox Violence Gender Crime Trial Ruth Snyder Film Noir Earl Modern Tragedy cinema film media

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of WinchesterUK

About the authors

Stevie Simkin is Reader in Drama and Film at the University of Winchester, UK. He is the author of, among other works, studies of Basic Instinct (2013) and Straw Dogs (2011) in the Controversies series, Early Modern Tragedy and the Cinema of Violence (2005)and A Preface to Marlowe (2000).

Bibliographic information


"In this fascinating study, Stevie Simkin traces the murderous figure of the femme fatale from her early modern roots to her present day incarnation ... It will be of great interest to scholars of literature and film, as well as those located in gender studies and criminology." - Lizzie Seal, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, University of Sussex, UK

"Simkin's reading of these case studies is always thoroughly researched (and one should hasten to say: very well written). ... It is not only a pleasure, but often a real thrill to follow the author in his investigation. ... This book is a truly feminist one, for it displays not only the many alibis that are always used to block women's search for independence, but also the fallacious idea that women's liberation has been achieved in our postmodern societies." - Jan Baetens, Editor-in-chief of Image [&] Narrative, (2015)