Re: RARA-AVIS: Influences and a cyber slip-up

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 31 Mar 2003

----- Original Message ----- From: "Al Guthrie" <>
> Again, on influences. James M Cain didn't like the accusation that his
> writing was hardboiled. In the preface to THE BUTTERFLY (1946) he says:
> belong to no school, hardboiled or otherwise, and I believe these schools
> exist mainly in the imagination of critics." Having dismissed Hammett, he
> then goes on at greater length to explain why his style owes nothing to
> Hemingway: "Unfortunately, for this theory [a stylistic debt to
> Hemingway] short story PASTORAL..was written in 1927, though I first
> read him when MEN WITHOUT WOMEN first appeared in 1928. Yet the style is
> pretty much my style today." Cain doesn't bother to mention Chandler.

Cain's dismissal of Hammett was as follows: "I have read less than twenty pages of Mr. Dashiell Hammett in my whole life."


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