The Critical Response to Dashiell Hammett
Greenwood Press, Jan 1, 1994 - Literary Criticism - 253 pages
As author of "Red Harvest," "The Maltese Falcon," "The Thin Man," and other works, "Dashiell Hammett" is one of the most popular American writers of detective fiction. The critical response to his work has been diverse. Edmund Wilson saw little merit in his novels, while Raymond Chandler pointed to Hammett's originality and artistry. While some critics have considered it foolish to search for deeper meanings in his novels, many others have praised his writings as profound social and literary documents.
Spanning more than 60 years of critical response, this collection includes contemporary reviews of Hammett's novels from the 1920s and 1930s as well as more than 20 full-length essays representing diverse critical approaches and assessments. It is the first collection of critical essays devoted to Hammett's work. Included are essays by major novelists such as Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, along with pieces by influential literary critics such as Edmund Wilson and John G. Cawelti. Moreover, two of the essays were written specifically for this volume. An introductory essay traces the development of Hammett's literary reputation, and an extensive bibliography lists sources for further reading.
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