Re: RARA-AVIS: chronological Hammett (was: Connelly and chronology)

From: brooks hefner (
Date: 26 Feb 2001

in between class assignments over the past few months i actually read hammett (sort-of) chronologically. i first read the novels (that was august and september, i think). then i tackled the short stories that are currently available in paperback. i didn't read the stories chronologically, but, within each book i did tackle them in chronological order. it was a pretty rewarding experience for me, particularly to see hammett's development as a writer, i.e. his moving from shorter, simpler, and perhaps more earnest to a more complex, more convoluted writer, no longer sure that the world he was creating was worth writing about. i didn't read any of the stuff that was published posthumously, but maybe i'll get into that later on. i was quite bowled over by the short stories--they get longer and longer, and become what amounts to sort novels, whose quality equals and surpasses some of the novels. a task that's well worth the time... brooks

>His plan about rereading Macdonald twigged me to something I'd forgotten:
>a plan to try rereading all of Hammett's work in chronological order.
>With NIGHTMARE TOWN and all the other books and collections I don't think
>I'm missing too much of his fiction, and I thought going through it all
>but this time in the order it was written could be fun. Has anyone ever
>tried this? Now that so many writers work in series, this is a pretty
>standard way to go, but it's different when tackling a writer who wrote a
>lot before paperbacks took over.

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