Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett My rating: 4 of 5 stars Like Arthur Conan Doyle, who begins The Sign of Four with Sherlock Holmes in a drug trance, Dashiell Hammett can't get his detective novel started without an infusion of aestheticism. The Maltese Falcon, named as it is for an objet d'art, opens with two descriptions … Continue reading Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon

Wallace Stevens, Harmonium

Harmonium by Wallace Stevens My rating: 5 of 5 stars I have long had an interest in Wallace Stevens but have never read him with any disciplined attention. To correct this, I read Stevens's landmark first book, Harmonium (1923), in a library copy of the Goodreads edition pictured above, along with the selections from it … Continue reading Wallace Stevens, Harmonium

Henrik Ibsen, The Master Builder

The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen My rating: 5 of 5 stars In my understanding of Ibsen's career, The Master Builder (1892) belongs to the end of his realist period, where the biological and economic naturalism of such plays as Ghosts and A Doll's House gives way to that infusion of naturalism with symbolism that … Continue reading Henrik Ibsen, The Master Builder

T. S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral

Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot My rating: 5 of 5 stars I should not like to close without attempting to set before you, though only in dim outline, the ideal towards which poetic drama should strive. It is an unattainable ideal: and that is why it interests me, for it provides an incentive … Continue reading T. S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral

Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Rappaccini’s Daughter”

Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne My rating: 5 of 5 stars While I am not in the habit of reviewing individual short stories, this is almost novella-length anyway and is one of my all-time favorites. Someone should publish it in a lavish illustrated edition: I imagine mixed media, photos of floral tendrils and marble ruins … Continue reading Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Rappaccini’s Daughter”