RARA-AVIS: Chandler and the definition of literature

From: dermdocsx2 ( dermdocsx2@cox.net)
Date: 07 Nov 2007

Since several of the recent threads have discussed Chandler and the definition of literature, respectively, I thought members of this list might be interested in Chandler's thoughts on the subject:

In 1964, Alfred Knopf published "The Raymond Chandler Omnibus", which collected The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely, The High Window, and The Lady in the Lake. The foreword was written by Lawrence Clark Powell, of the UCLA Library Service, and he included a quote from Chandler's correspondence with Erle Stanley Gardner: "When a book, any sort of book, reaches a certain intensity of artistic performance it becomes literature. That intensity may be a matter of style, situation, character, emotional tone, or idea, or half a dozen other things. It may also be a perfection of control over the movement of a story similar to the control a great pitcher has over the ball."

Like so many things of Chandler's, very well said.

Patrick Lee

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