RARA-AVIS: marlowe the sentimentalist

From: Carrie Pruett ( pruettc@hotmail.com)
Date: 12 Mar 2002

miker wrote:

>. however, if i recall correctly, he was doing the kissy-face- huggy->bear
>with the other one (more mature, less crazy) and blew it cuz all >he wanted
>to do was talk about the case. he could lose some points on >the romance
>scale there.

actually, I got the impression in the book (opposed to the film) that Marlowe was thoroughly uninterested in the sternwood girls - beyond the level of obvious physical attraction - and in the scene you mention with Vivian I thought he was simply faking romantic interest in order to pump her about the case. Could read it the other way, though I think he saw himself as too Moral to bed her (Spade would have bedded her and milked her for info). However, Marlowe is quite vulnerable to Silver Wig (in TBS) and whazzername in Farewell my Lovely to name just a couple (I've read other Chandlers but not recently enough to remember details). I definitely think Marlowe's a romantic at the core, and not afraid to tell us when the dame is worthy.

I think Spade has feelings for Brigid too, but Hammett leaves them between the lines; Hemingway's characters seem from, what I've seen, to be more aligned with Spade. It's not a question of how much they feel but how much they say. That's the distinction I was making about sentimentality, which is probably not the best word for what I want to say. Jake Barnes is different among Hem's characters, but "Sun also rises" is an early book that bears little stylistic similarity to what I think most people mean when they're talking about "Hemingway" (Not by coincidence, it's the only Hemingway novel - as opposed to shorts and memoirs - that I actually like).


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