Re: RARA-AVIS: Chandler's Influence

Date: 15 Dec 2002


Re your message below:

> Inarguably. Anything successful will have its
> imitators. Which raises the
> question: how much of the Marlowe paradigm is based
> on the Spade prototype,
> I wonder?

While Chandler was undoubtedly influenced by Hammett, Spade was

a) NOT an ex-cop, but an ex-operative of a large detective agency in Seattle.

b) NOT a first-person narrator.


c) Not the proprietor of a one-man agency (though obviously he became one by default with Miles Archer's murder).

It could be argued that Chandler took ingredients from a number of Hammett characters and combined them into a single recipe. Hence, Spade and Alec Rush are not first-person narrators, but the Op and Nick Charles are. The Op and Spade are not operating a one-man agency and neither of them are ex-cops, but Rush is both a one-man show and a former policeman. Rush is older than the paradigm, but Spade (a bit over 30) and the Op (35 in his earliest appearances) are just the right age. All of them operate out of one-man agencies.

Whether this was deliberate or subliminal on Chandler's part is another story.


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