Re: RARA-AVIS: Review of Raymond Chandler Papers - worth reading

From: Chris Routledge (
Date: 27 Feb 2001

>It is Chandler who
>so often is said to write "real books," not "just mysteries," as if that
>were something to be ashamed of. So I think a good case could be made
>that Chandler is more respected, if not better known, than the other two
>in non-mystery circles.

This is true, I think, but I want to add to the "film keeps him famous" quibble. In my experience, when one mentions Raymond Chandler in the UK people tend to reply "Oh, yes. The Maltese Falcon." The face of Bogart is the real survivor.

To reply to an earlier, post as well, I don't think one should necessarily only consider the popularity of a writer in his/her own country. An Australian magazine would do its readers no favours by pointing them to writers unavailable in book shops (since most people don't bother to order things not on the shelves). And anyway, where is James Joyce read most? In Ireland, or on literature courses in the USA? In Britain he (and other Irish writers such as Wilde, Sheridan et al) is usually regarded as part of the "English" canon. And of course Chandler's early novels were much better respected (and reviewed) in the UK than the US, while the late novels even appeared here first. An American writer, sure, but there are more readers outside the US than inside. Let's not extend Dubya's isolationism to literature as well.

Cheers Chris

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