Volume 26, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0924-1884
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9986
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


In The Maltese Falcon (1929/1930), U.S. hard-boiled author Dashiell Hammett used common colloquial terms (queer and fairy) and specialized slang terms (gunsel, the gooseberry lay) to include homosexual characters at a time when pulp magazines and mainstream publishers frowned on diverse sexualities. Hammett subversively introduced these terms in a resolvably ambiguous fashion, relying on readers to trigger underlying homosexual interpretations. Instances of queer and fairy were attenuated in early versions (1933, 1946) but in more recent versions (1968, 1974, 1992, and 2011) were generally preserved (marica) or even intensified (maricón). In many cases, the Spanish translators misinterpreted the gooseberry lay, which has no sexual connotations at all, thinking it meant something homosexual. In all cases, the term gunsel, which does have a homosexual meaning, was stripped of all male same-sex significance and was cast into slang terms for gunman, thug or killer.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): ambiguity; hard-boiled novel; homosexuality; literature; sex-related language; slang; translation
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error