Re: RARA-AVIS: Chandler or Hammett? -- Plus A Glance At John Morgan Wilson

From: Michael Robison (
Date: 02 Dec 2003

Chris wrote:
> -- a fairly obvious article about novelist John Morgan Wilson, containing
fairly obvious remarks about Raymond Chandler and his influence, when the thought struck me: "Why is it that I usually hear about Chandler and his influence, and almost never about Hammett? Is the RC influence that much greater, or have I been listening to the wrong conversations? And, if there are writers one could point to as Hammett acolytes, who exactly would those writers be?"
> Call it a result of the fact that, though I love both "Farewell, My
Lovely" and "Red Harvest," it's the latter one that I'd rather spend time with. At least this week.

******************* Chandler made the PI more human. He borrowed the angst-ridden hero from Hemingway and applied it to hardboiled. Readers absolutely love their protagonists struggling against those inner demons. Hammett's Con Op was just too tough to be convincing, and when Hammett tried to make him more touchy-feely, like in THE DAIN CURSE, the results were less than satisfying.

As Jim Doherty has mentioned, Chandler set a new standard for the PI, and that standard still stands today.


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