The image of the Maltese falcon: Reconsidering an American icon

$10.35 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Buy Article:

Abstract:

The image of the Maltese falcon is an American icon that has made repeated appearances in print, film and elsewhere since it was first presented in the pages of Black Mask magazine in 1929. When we return to Dashiell Hammett's text (published in novel form the following year), we find that this image actually involves a range of multiple images, the significance of which can be probed by considering a stylistic contrast between Hammett and another outstanding Black Mask author, Raymond Chandler. The contrast between Hammett and Chandler becomes especially evident in their different deployments of metaphor and metonymy. Departing from common metaphoric readings, this essay establishes the falcon's metonymic character. The point is not just to show a difference in technique between Hammett and Chandler, but also to demonstrate how Hammett's text carries cultural and political investments that entail a demystification of historical experience while disallowing the quality of redemption prized by the more romantic Chandler.

Keywords: Black Mask; Dashiell Hammett; Maltese falcon; Raymond Chandler; metaphor; metonymy

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ejac.26.3.199_1

Affiliations: Trent University, Canada.

Publication date: January 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • The European Journal of American Culture (EJAC) is an academic, refereed journal for scholars, academics and students from many disciplines with a common involvement in the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture, drawing on a variety of approaches and encompassing the whole evolution of the country.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
Related content

Tools

Favourites

Share Content

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
UA-1313315-26
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more