Raymond Chandler

PG is not certain what put him into a Raymond Chandler mood this afternoon and evening, but hopes you found the Chandler quotes of interest.

Chandler was born in 1888 in Chicago to an Irish immigrant mother and a father who was an alcoholic civil engineer who worked for the railway. His father later abandoned the family.

His mother managed to move the family back to what is now the London Borough of Croydon where they lived with Chandler’s maternal grandmother and received some reluctant support from his mother’s brother.

Chandler was educated at Dulwich College, a public school (which would have been called a private school in the US) in London. He did not attend university. After a brief stint with the Civil Service, he was an unsuccessful freelance newspaper reporter in London, writing his own fiction on the side.

In 1912, he borrowed money from his uncle (to be repaid with interest) to return to America, where he initially settled in San Francisco.

After moving up and down the American west coast, in 1917, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was sent to France to fight in the trenches in World War I. After his service was interrupted by two bouts with the Spanish Flu, the war ended and Chandler made his way back to Los Angeles.

Chandler married an American woman, started as a bookkeeper/auditor for an oil company, and rose to the position of vice president before being fired for alcohol abuse and promiscuity with some of the female employees.

Chandler then started writing pulp fiction for Black Mask magazine where Erle Stanley Gardner was another, more prolific pulp writer.

Chandler’s first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939, and featured the detective Philip Marlowe, speaking in the first person.

His second Marlowe novel, Farewell, My Lovely (1940), became the basis for three movie versions adapted by other screenwriters, including the 1944 film Murder My Sweet, which marked the screen debut of the Marlowe character.

In 1946, the Chandlers moved to La Jolla, an affluent coastal community north of San Diego. Chandler continued to have problems with his drinking, which worsened after the death of his wife in 1954. Chandler died in 1959.

Chandler’s reputation grew after his death. Many contemporary authors, including W. H. Auden, Evelyn Waugh, and Ian Fleming, greatly admired his writing. Fleming said that Chandler wrote “some of the finest dialogue written in any prose today.”

5 thoughts on “Raymond Chandler”

  1. From “Three Sisters,” a song by the late, and sometimes great, Jim Carroll:

    Though I don’t really understand her
    I love my sister, her name’s Miranda
    The boys from uptown they can’t stand her
    The more she denies them the more they demand her
    But she just wants to lay in bed all night
    Reading Raymond Chandler

  2. I went through his books a few years ago, and they still hold up, although he shouldn’t have been sneering at Agatha Christie.

    “The Long Embrace” is a great biography of him and his long marriage to a much-older woman.

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