Re: RARA-AVIS: re Chandler vs. Hammett

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 04 Dec 2003

<<...but almost everything I've read by Chandler has stayed with me much more vividly, even the lesser efforts.>>

Indeed, Chandler makes each scene vivid by simile and careful linguistic underlining. His choice of words could not be more careful. He must have written and rewritten endlessly...

Hammett did not underline nearly as much. His writing was more organic, less episodic. Whereas Chandler was a master of the unexpected, Hammett has fewer surprises. His prose, especially in narration, has an internal rhythm that seems just right. That's my definition of great prose.

A comparison of, say, Chandler's _Bay City Blues_ and Hammett's _The Gutting of Couffignal_ makes these points obvious. I mention these stories because each shows its author at his best.



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