Re: RARA-AVIS: Chandler's realism

From: Chris Routledge (
Date: 18 Dec 2000

Mat Coward wrote:

>This accusation is frequently made against RC, but in fact he himself
>frequently, passionately and explicitly condemned the whole *idea* of
>realism, which he considered both impossible and undesirable. What he was in
>favour of, was *emotional* realism.

And description and style of course. He does quite a bit of posturing as
"someone who knows what he's talking about when it comes to crime" though. That introduction he wrote to the autobiography of an ex-con (Frank somebody I think - it's been a while and I don't have a copy) is one of his kind-hearted efforts to help a struggling writer but also a signal that he thinks he's in with the 'tough' end of things. The Steelgrave material in The Little Sister implies the realism of the story, but I'm with you on this Mat (and Richard) - just as tales of sea monsters in the 15th century were based in reality no doubt, but were largely fantasies that turned into myth.

Cheers Chris

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