Strange Birds: Rewriting 'The Maltese Falcon'

Hamilton, Cynthia S. (2013) Strange Birds: Rewriting 'The Maltese Falcon'. Journal of American Studies, 47 (03). pp. 699-718. ISSN 0021-8758

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Abstract

Hammett's formative role in establishing the conventions of the hard-boiled detective formula is widely acknowledged, but the formative influence of his masterpiece, The Maltese Falcon, on specific texts by subsequent innovators has remained largely unexplored territory. Both Sara Paretsky and Chester Himes have paid tribute to Hammett's influence, with particular reference to The Maltese Falcon. An examination of Indemnity Only and For the Love of Imabelle in relation to The Maltese Falcon offers a unique perspective on Paretsky's and Himes's stylistic choices and the social perspectives these articulated. It also helps to explain the critical reception of their work. Paretsky, writing within the grain of a type of social realism associated with both protest literature and hard-boiled detective fiction, achieved early recognition. Himes, writing against the grain, did not. Those of his detective novels most closely allied to his protest writing have received the most critical attention, but in For the Love of Imabelle, Himes used techniques allied to surrealism. These effectively disrupted and destabilized important, socially privileged discourses – and discomforted audiences and wrong-footed critics

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > English
Depositing User: Susan Murray
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2014 09:44
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2014 09:44
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/288

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