Dashiell Hammett, The Glass Key

Lee Horsley (Lancaster University)
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The editor of

Black Mask

, Joseph T. Shaw, said in defence of his magazine in 1930 that he had published only one story, the serialised parts of Dashiell Hammett's

The Glass Key

, in which the gangster was in any sense the hero, and this, he claimed, was justified as a representation of the alliance between corrupt politicians, public officials and organised crime. It was a demonstration of “one of the most serious illnesses, to put it mildly, that our body politic has ever suffered from.” During the 1930s, it became increasingly common for American hard-boiled writers to create criminal protagonists, but

The Glass Key

, published in

Black Mask

between March and June 1930, was one of the earliest of such stories. The protagonist, Ned Beaumont, is very unlike Hammett's earlier…

832 words

Citation: Horsley, Lee. "The Glass Key". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 October 2001 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=789, accessed 15 July 2024.]

789 The Glass Key 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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