Re: RARA-AVIS: Joel Cairo & Wilmer - Just Good Friends?

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 28 Jul 2002

I get the impression that Hammett (as with the best writers, Chandler and Ross MacDonald among them) left a wealth of potentially ambiguous relationships half-buried in most of his work. Then he resisted the temptation to tell us what was at work there, rather than allowing us to observe and draw our own conclusions. I think he trusted his readers to be imaginative. It's part of why I love his work so much.

I think it's both important and extremely difficult to do that.


At 05:09 PM 7/28/02 +1000, you wrote:
>After provoking a backlash with the (hardly novel) assertion that
>Achilles & Patroclus were lovers you'd think I'd have learned my lesson
>but I just can't help myself (compulsive disorder).
>I have to know - all those who disagreed with my reading of the
>Achilles/Patroclus relationship (which was based on readings of other
>texts as well as THE ILIAD) & have read THE MALTESE FALCON - how do you
>guys read the relationship of the above named characters? Do you think
>that these two are lovers or not & why do you think that? Am I the only
>one who thinks that Hammett wants us to believe that they are (probably)
>lovers even though Hammett doesn't say so in as many words?
> I'd be particularly interested in the opinion of the person who
>labelled me a neurotic incapable of perceiving male friendships as
>anything but homosexual in nature.

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