Abstract

Allan Pinkerton was both the architect of the first national detective agency and author of a series of extremely successful post-Civil War memoirs narrating the activities of his agency. After working as a Pinkerton Agent for almost seven years, Dashiell Hammett consciously intervened on the narrative tradition of Allan Pinkerton with a series of detective fictions critical of the detective's visual authority. Considered together, the work of Pinkerton and Hammett enact a visual and epistemological drama fundamental to the emergence of modernism in America.

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