RARA-AVIS: Dashiell Hammett's Moral Vision

From: vinceemery ( vince@emery.com)
Date: 07 Feb 2007

After 35 years, the most influential full-length look at Dashiell Hammett's 5 novels is finally available as a book.

Hammett's Moral Vision was originally written in 1972 by George J. "Rhino" Thompson as his doctoral dissertation. It was the first full-length critical analysis of the Hammett novels, and also the first to evaluate what other critics said about them.

The dissertation was serialized in 7 early issues of The Armchair Detective magazine, and affected, directly or indirectly, most subsequent analyses of Hammett's work. Some issues heatedly debated on Rara-Avis today were first raised by Rhino Thompson.

These days, those 7 issues of The Armchair Detective are collector's items at collector's prices. (I paid $178 for my copies.) And darned hard to find.

But now Hammett's Moral Vision is available as a more affordable hardcover book. Rhino and I worked to update and expand it, and William F. Nolan contributed an introduction.

I don't agree with every point Rhino makes, but am proud to have published this book. After 35 years, his analysis of The Glass Key is still the best thing ever written about that novel, and the controversial section on The Thin Man is the most important piece ever written about that book.

I am sure the Hammettophiles on this list will find it a stimulating read.

Hammett's Moral Vision is available from bookstores and online booksellers now. Favorable reviews are scheduled to appear in the Feb. 15 Library Journal and in a future issue of Gary Lovisi's Hardboiled magazine.

I look forward to wrestling with any questions about it from my fellow Rara Avians.

Vince Emery

Vince Emery Productions Publisher:
- LOST STORIES by Dashiell Hammett
  SAM SPADE edited by Richard Layman

www.emerybooks.com Box 460279, San Francisco, CA 94146 USA vince @ emery.com Phone 1.415.337.6000

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