RARA-AVIS: 1st & 3rd

From: K Montin ( kmontin@total.net)
Date: 24 May 2002


I've just reread The Abominable Man (Maj Sjl and Per Wahl one in their series about inspector Martin Beck. He is referred to every single time as Martin Beck. No inspector, no Martin, no Beck.

It is a good translation (by Thomas Teal), but it struck me as a rather un-English aspect of the style. "English" writers don't do that, I thought.
(French writers do, not necessarily in novels, but in newspapers, reports, etc.). But now I know there's a certain class of Hemingway followers and precursors who favour this rather wooden device.

Maybe it's to establish distance. Or maybe it's to hammer the protag's name home. Or maybe in Hemingway's case, it's to sound foreign. (I have to admit here I'm not a fan. I've read a short story or two and a few parodies, but could never get through a novel.)

Anyway I really enjoyed the book. Good solid police work and serious cogitation keep things moving to the end. Different police officers with radically different personalities and styles are well drawn. Virtually every page has a scathing criticism of some aspect of Swedish society (this was first published in 1971).

Karin At 14:42 24/5/02 -0400, Robison Michael R CNIN < Robison_M@crane.navy.mil wrote:

>mark coggins said:
>The difference between FALCON and KEY is that Hammett took this objective
>business one step further and rather than saying Spade did this or Spade did
>that, he always says Ned Beaumont did this or Ned Beaumont did that. Always
>repeating both names makes the character seem even more distanced from the
>reader, I think.
>
>***************************************************
>
>hammett stole the technique of always using the full name
>from hemingway's _for whom the bell tolls_, where robert
>jordan is always robert jordan, and never robert, god
>forbid bob, and don't even think about bobby.
>
>the impressive thing about hammett stealing this technique
>from hemingway is that the glass key came out in 1931, and
>the spanish civil war, upon which _for whom the bell tolls_
>is based, didn't start until 1937. thats amazing, isn't
>it? how did he do that?
>
>miker

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