RARA-AVIS: Re: Chandler, Hammett, etc....

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 16 Dec 2003

I think you guys are baying up the wrong tree -- I wasn't suggesting that Hammett was a wuss or anything, merely that Chris' friend statement:

>"Chandler's atmospherics mesmerize, but Chandler's sense of evil is,
>at best, window-shopping. Dash has seen the furnace."

... ignored the fact that Chandler had indeed seen just as much, if not more, of "the furnace" as Hammett ever did. And in fact I find Chandler in many ways more concerned about evil than Hammett was -- partly because Marlowe was a sensitive guy, more easily prone to introspection, or at least more so than Spade and the Op, who barely had time to catch their breath, much less philosophize.

And Richard wrote:

>But I think we can fall prey to putting on the authors the sins of their
>admirers. While much may have been made of the Pinkerton past of Hammett by
>Captain Shaw and others, lets face it, this was inevitable. I do not recall
>(although I have not researched this by rereading biographies) that
>Hammett overly
>harped on this.

I don't know that Hammett "overly" harped on it (certainly many of his admirers did -- and do) but he did write that 1923 article. "From the Memoirs of a Private Detective" for SMART SET (located, for your convenience at http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/hammett2.htm
), so he did contribute at least partially -- and knowingly -- to his own myth.

It's a goofy little article, a collection of true anecdotes, tall tales and probably a few whoppers, that probably took him six minutes to write.

Oh, and Richard also wrote:

>Chandler was turned down for health reasons in the US and went up to Canada
>to enlist--

I never heard he first applied to the American Army, or that he was rejected for health reasons (what were they?). In Tom Hiney's biography of Chandler, which goes a little deeper into his war experience than the McShane book, there's no mention of him applying to the U.S. Army at all, but it's suggested that he joined the Canadian army because he was more likely to see action (the U.S. had only just entered the bloody fray while the Brits and Canadians had already been fighting for a couple of years); that he felt strong ties to the Commonwealth; that it was, in Hiney's words, an
"honorable way out of Los Angeles" and that they offered an allowance to dependants (in Chandler's case, his mom).

Oh, and while you guys are at my site, feel free to take a whack at this year's CHEAP THRILL AWARDS at http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/poll.html

You rare birds always have a lot to say about the current state of P.I.s., and your input is always welcome.


Kevin Burton Smith The 2003 Cheap Thrill Awards are back. Vote now, vote often. http://www.thrillingdetective.com -- # Plain ASCII text only, please. Anything else won't show up. # To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to # majordomo@icomm.ca. This will not work for the digest version. # The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

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