RARA-AVIS: Re:Flitcraft

From: Frederick Zackel ( fzackel@wcnet.org)
Date: 23 Nov 2004

Check out Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Wakefield" from his Twice-Told Tales (1837.) One can see where Hammett might have gotten jumpstarted on his Flitcraft parable.

Hawthorne begins "Wakefield" by saying:
"In some old magazine or newspaper I recollect a story, told as truth, of a man--let us call him Wakefield--who absented himself for a long time from his wife."

But the ending I find sweet...
"Amid the seeming confusion of our mysterious world, individuals are so nicely adjusted to a system, and systems to one another and to a whole, that, by stepping aside for a moment, a man exposes himself to a fearful risk of losing his place forever. Like Wakefield, he may become, as it were, the Outcast of the Universe."

Hammett read Hawthorne.

Happy T-day

Fred Zackel

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