Readers Of Popular Literature
Peter J. Rabinowitz
SOURCE: "The Turn of the Glass Key: Popular Fiction as Reading Strategy," in Critical Inquiry, Vol. 11, No. 3, March, 1985, pp. 418-31.
[In the following essay, Rabinowitz investigates the assumptions readers make when they delve into genre fiction.]
Even among critics not particularly concerned with detective fiction, Dashiell Hammett's fourth novel, The Glass Key (1931), is famous for carrying the so-called objective method to almost obsessive lengths: we are never told what the characters are thinking, only what they do and look like. Anyone's decisions about anyone else's...
(The entire section is 14861 words.)