Re: RARA-AVIS: wet feet...

From: Doug Bassett (
Date: 27 Apr 2001

Actually, I've been thinking about Hammett recently -- I ditched my cheapo paperbacks and bought me a nice cheap hardback collection of the novels. One of these days I plan on rereading them all.

Anyhow, I personally don't see the division as one between Hammett and Chandler, but rather between Hammett and Chandler on one side and Cain on the other
(basically I'd argue that Hammett and Chandler's characters act on the world, while with Cain the world acts upon them), but it is true that the focus and appeal of Hammett is quite different from Chandler. Hammett is more of a severe kind of author: for me the appeal of his books isn't the characters so much as the sort of stark clean ways the storylines play out.

At his best -- RED HARVEST, say, or my favorite novel of his, THE GLASS KEY -- it's almost as if Hammett is telling a modern myth. The story seems to give off those kind of resonances. Consider how many times RED HARVEST has been retold, for instance.

Just my two cents,

--- Mark Sullivan <> wrote:
> Miker expressed some reservations after reading his
> first Hammett, Red
> Harvest.
> Well, I think in the world of hardboiled fandom,
> there are Hammett
> people and there are Chandler people. From what you
> have written, I'll
> bet you're one of the latter. You don't get nearly
> as deep into
> Hammett's characters as you do into Chandler's
> Marlowe

===== Doug Bassett

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