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  • Published: 15 November 2015
  • ISBN: 9780804170482
  • Imprint: Knopf US
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $39.99

The World of Raymond Chandler

In His Own Words



Acclaimed biographer and historian Barry Day crafts a biography of the original master of hardboiled fiction, Raymond Chandler, from the author's own writing and interviews.

The World of Raymond Chandler shows how Chandler precariously balanced the values of a classical English education against those of a fast-evolving America during the years before the Great War; how he adopted Los Angeles as his home after WWI, with Hollywood in turn adopting him (and adapting his works); how his detective hero and alter ego Philip Marlowe evolved over the years; and, above all, what it is to be a writer, and in particular one writing in the “other language” of hardboiled fiction.
 
Acclaimed biographer and historian Barry Day deftly interweaves images and text, using quotations from Chandler’s novels, short stories, letters, and interviews, to craft a unique portrait of the mystery writer’s life and times.

  • Published: 15 November 2015
  • ISBN: 9780804170482
  • Imprint: Knopf US
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $39.99

About the author

Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago in 1888 but moved to England with his mother when he was twelve after his parents' divorce. He was educated at Dulwich College, London and studied international law in France and Germany. He published a number of poems and essays in local papers and worked as a reporter, essayist and book reviewer before emigrating to the United States in 1912. After serving for the Canadian Army during the First World War he tried a variety of jobs before becoming a bookkeeper and auditor for Dabney Oil Syndicate. In 1924 he married Cissy Pascal. When Chandler lost his job during the Great Depression, he decided to devote himself to writing. He began writing short stories for Black Mask Magazine, the best known of the 'hard-boiled' school of pulp fiction magazines. In 1939 he published his first novel The Big Sleep to instant acclaim in Britain and the US, introducing the world to his iconic private eye, Philip Marlowe. Marlowe went on to star in almost all of Raymond Chandler's major works and with Farewell My Lovely (1940) and The Long Goodbye (1954) Chandler cemented his reputation as a giant of American popular culture and master of a style of detective fiction that would be widely admired and imitated. Chandler turned to screenwriting in 1943 with Double Indemnity and worked closely with director Billy Wilder. He continued to write for Hollywood for the next four years, during the heyday of the Hollywood studio system, receiving an Oscar nomination for The Blue Dahlia (1946). In 1946 Chandler received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for screenplay and in 1954 for novel writing. During the last year of his life he was made President of the Mystery Writers of America. He died from pneumonia in 1959.

Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago in 1888 but moved to England with his mother when he was twelve after his parents' divorce. He was educated at Dulwich College, London and studied international law in France and Germany. He published a number of poems and essays in local papers and worked as a reporter, essayist and book reviewer before emigrating to the United States in 1912. After serving for the Canadian Army during the First World War he tried a variety of jobs before becoming a bookkeeper and auditor for Dabney Oil Syndicate. In 1924 he married Cissy Pascal. When Chandler lost his job during the Great Depression, he decided to devote himself to writing. He began writing short stories for Black Mask Magazine, the best known of the 'hard-boiled' school of pulp fiction magazines. In 1939 he published his first novel The Big Sleep to instant acclaim in Britain and the US, introducing the world to his iconic private eye, Philip Marlowe. Marlowe went on to star in almost all of Raymond Chandler's major works and with Farewell My Lovely (1940) and The Long Goodbye (1954) Chandler cemented his reputation as a giant of American popular culture and master of a style of detective fiction that would be widely admired and imitated. Chandler turned to screenwriting in 1943 with Double Indemnity and worked closely with director Billy Wilder. He continued to write for Hollywood for the next four years, during the heyday of the Hollywood studio system, receiving an Oscar nomination for The Blue Dahlia (1946). In 1946 Chandler received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for screenplay and in 1954 for novel writing. During the last year of his life he was made President of the Mystery Writers of America. He died from pneumonia in 1959.

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Praise for The World of Raymond Chandler

  • "Barry Day stretches Chandler's limber language like a skein across the skeleton of his life, knitting in the spaces in between with his own editorial commentary.... The book may hold the most allure for seasoned Chandler fans who have yearned to tail their man down the dark alleys of his private thoughts, knowing beforehand where they led. But even the greenest Chandler novice may find much here that tantalizes: clues to mysteries of personality and genius that the savviest sleuth could never decode." --The New York Times
  • "[Day] has culled from ... Chandler['s] books as well as the writer's voluminous correspondence to take us on a tour of Chandler's sinister, neon-lit world.... Chandler's words are accompanied by more than 100 photographs.... A splendid complement of the literary to the visual... Essential for any Chandler aficionado." --St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • "A remarkable book.... A fascinating and convincing portrait of a writer who, using the material of his own life and his convictions, refined pulp into literature. More than any biography I've read, this book stirred in me a new sympathy for Chandler to match the admiration I've always felt." --Dean Koontz, author of 77 Shadow Street and What the Night Knows