Re: RARA-AVIS: wet feet...

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 27 Apr 2001

Mark Sullivan:

<<There is a bit more depth to Spade, though it's mostly hinted at, but he, too, is defined by his professionalism -- what a man must do for his business partner, even if he doesn't like him. So it's

business, not personal.>>

That may be Hammett's greatest limition, which at the same time is his great strength. There's a lot more to any person's life than a profession. Hammett is a cipher, the exact opposite of his contemporary, Hemingway, who regularly bared his soul (even to the point of being accused of narcissism), and who wrote so much autobiographical stuff.

They share a style (only up to a point: Hemingway could wax verbose) but the world that Hammett presents to the reader is much narrower, probably too narrow to get him into the Great Lit list or to appeal to the non-hardboiled reader -- there are some of those, believe it or not.

And for Betsy: "The Tree-Killing Pattersons" would be a great title for a pulp story of the raunchy variety.




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