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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Mystery Greats  /

Raymond Chandler
 

Raymond Chandler Books

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In 1939, his first novel, The Big Sleep, was published. He went on to write six more novels, many of which were made into movies. He also wrote original screenplays, such as Double Indemnity (1944) and Strangers on a Train (1951).

Born out of the tradition of Hammett and James M. Cain, Chandler's work and his protagonist Philip Marlowe stand as one of the landmarks of American literature.

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Paul Bergin - 10:00am Jul 5, 1998 PST(#1 of 79)

Robert Southey was BOTH a Romantic and a poet. And Poet Laureate to boot. His work sucks. Now that we've got that out of the way, I would suggest that the reason Chandler's work endures is because he blended the Homeric tradition of the questing, truth-seeking knight-errant with a cityscape that ran counter to those in which that rather familiar literary creation had theretofore been seen -- LA during the transition from the Wild West to modernity. The city is a much more palpable character than Marlowe (or any of the proto-Marlowes) throughout the Chandler canon. It was the notion of a pure man in an intolerably corrupt and corrupting environment that gave his books that zing. In my opinion, that is. Or it could be that he was just a helluva writer.


P Marlowe - 10:26pm Jul 24, 1998 PST(#2 of 79)
Glenview 7537 - Hollywood

Philip Marlowe is "the best of men." He represents that part of us that remains distanced and observer. His books delve into the real guts o the American dream, as no others ever have. He created characters of mythical proportions (elves, giants, gargoyles and deadly beauty) and told stories that twisted and turned like a hanged man. He is truly a gem of a find when you discover him for the firt, second or 50th time. I used to believe Alice in Wonderland (still do) was the best book ever written, but "The Little Sister." "Farewell, My Lovely," "The Big Sleep" give anything out there a run. Uylsses as the greatest book of the century, what a howl. Hated it, hate Joyce and am not ashamed or afraid to admit it. Pompousity at its stoogiest and totally unfathomable at times.


Christi - 04:02pm Aug 30, 1998 PST(#3 of 79)

I'm reading the Big Sleep right now, and even though, Philip Marlow is not described like him, I can't help thinking of Humphrey Bogart.


P Marlowe - 05:56pm Sep 2, 1998 PST(#4 of 79)
Glenview 7537 - Hollywood

Enjoy the read - if you haven't read "The Little Sister" I recommend it. The three I like the most are "The Little Sister," "Farewell, my Lovely." and "The Long Goodbye" (his last finished novel). But everything including the short stories and essay (Mean Streets) are well worth reading.


Paul Bergin - 08:55am Oct 15, 1998 PST(#5 of 79)

Christi -- Bogart did indeed play Marlowe once, but made a bad job of it. Better than Dick Powell, but not much. The best screen Marlowe so far has been Robert Mitchum in the mid-70s "Farewell My Lovely." He reprised the role in "The Big Sleep," but the film sucked. Phil M in England? Come on! Ms. Marlowe -- Try some of Chandlers short stories. He was a compact writer, and it is possible that the short story was his natural form. Three great ones, the first two featuring ur-Marlowes and the last PM himself, are "Pickup on Noon Street," "The King in Yellow" and "Red Wind." The essay to which you refer, by the way, is not titled "Mean Streets" (that was a Scorcese film) but "The Simple Art of Murder." Its most famous line was, "Down those mean streets a man must go." Possibly the source of your confusion.


LiAnna Davis - 06:59pm Oct 24, 1998 PST(#6 of 79)

I am in the process of researching for a 25-page research paper on Chandler for my English class. I've read "Raymond Chandler, A Biography," by Tom Hiney, which is an excellent biography. I plan on reading McShane's "The Life of Raymond Chadler" also. I've just started reading "The Big Sleep," I've gotten through the first chapter. I'm required to turn in my notes, which makes me less interested in reading the books, although I'm afraid once I start I won't be able to stop. I'm also planning on reading a book of RC's letters. I've thumbed through it and he seems like a very gifted writer of letters as well as novels. Does anybody know where one can find old copies of Black Mask with his stories in it? I'd be interested in reading them.


Paul Bergin - 08:26am Oct 25, 1998 PST(#7 of 79)

Forget about finding originals of Chandler's Black Mask work. Unless you're wealthy, that is. Copies are rarely available and, when they do come on the market, are co$tly. The good news is that most, if not all, of Chandler's short stories have been reissued, some many times. Some paperback collections that one still sees in used book shops from time to time are: "Pickup on Noon Street," "Killer in the Rain," Trouble is My Business," and "The Simple Art of Murder" (which also contains the essay of that name). The first Chandler volume of the Library of America series also contains an excellent selection of his short fiction. Happy hunting/reading.


P Marlowe - 07:27am Oct 26, 1998 PST(#8 of 79)
Glenview 7537 - Hollywood

I also liked Mitchum's portrayals. However, Robert Montgomery's characterization of the famous Marlowe was unforgetable in "The Lady in te Lake." Bogart made a much better Sam Spade than Marlowe. Dick Powell was totally unbelievable as was James Garner. Elliott Gould did a very passable Marlowe in the haunting "The Long Goodbye."


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