Re: RARA-AVIS: Hammett pulp novel

From: James Rogers (
Date: 04 Feb 2000

At 10:32 PM 2/3/00 -0700, Greg S. wrote:

>That also helps me understand something else that was nagging at me:
>Hammett's focus was largely external. X said this. Y did that. Hammett
>doesn't take us inside the characters. If we're interested in the internal
>life of the characters, it's up to us to infer that from Hammett's
>observations. Fair enough. But, that's where noir and hardboiled tales
>like Bloch's first few tough Scudders part company with Hammett. There, the
>focus is on the internal.
     This is at least half the reason that Hammett and Hemingway are so often compared. The emotions and attitudes of the character have to to be inferred by the reader, as you say. Chandler did the internal monologue thing and other Block...have tended to get carried away with it ever since. But Hammett's restraint is one reason why he hardly ever gets accused of sentimentality or floridity as most of the other PI guys sometimes do.


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