I don't know if Eddie Duggan is still around, but he has vast
knowledge of Hammett's work and his contributions are in the archives.
Eddie used to have a Maltese Falcon FAQ which right now doesn't load
for me. If it still exists, check it out.
On the Twain connection, I think it is clear and leads both to
Hemingway and Hammett -- and to several other early practitioners that
we tend to forget, such as Whitfield and Erle Stanley Gardner.
Gardner's fantastically supple dialogue in his pulp stories sounds
Twainian to me. Probably Twain was the great liberator, the one who
created dialogues that are both credible and telling and lead the
story (not viceversa). He was also notable for eliminating extraneous
stuff from his tales. His work made many authors unreadable, including
contemporaries of his. Twain was one of those writers that appears
only once in several generations. The same happened in the Spanish
language with Borges: after Borges, you can't get away with writing
heavy paragraphs of bullshit. His work made it obsolete.
So back to Hammett: his style has become the standard style in
hardboiled literature. That is why we notice that James Lee Burke is
different (because he follows Faulkner-O'Connor). Setting the standard
hardboiled style is not a small feat. Even in the world of the cozy,
his influence can be felt (stylistically, not thematically).
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 28 Jan 2009 EST