The use of language in The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler


Term Paper, 2004
14 Pages, Grade: 2,5

Excerpt

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The life of Raymond Chandler

3. The long goodbye
3.1. Summary
3.2. Philip Marlowe
3.3. Language as a violent medium

4. Conclusion

5. Literature
5.1. Primary Literature
5.2. Secondary Literature

1. Introduction

Crime fiction became accepted as a serious genre only after 1900, but the roots go back to the early 19th century and to Edgar Allan Poe, who chose a kind of detective[1] as the central character of a short story and therefore provided a kind of structural model in 1849. Famous classical private-eyes in literature are Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) and Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple created by Agatha Christie.

A reaction of the rise of British detective fiction was the so called American hard-boiled school, as well known as “noir” fiction. Writers like Dashiell Hammet (1894-1961) or Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) created a new stereotype of a typical American investigator and started to integrate social, psychological and political elements in their novels. Language is an important medium for writers and this work will exemplary survey the use of language as a violent medium in the novel The Long Goodbye[2] by Raymond Chandler. Therefore the private eye Philip Marlowe, main character of the story, will be analysed. In the conclusion the question whether a private eye like Marlowe is more realistic than a traditional private eye like Sherlock Holmes will be considered.

2. The life of Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler[3] was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 23 in 1888. He grew up in England and lived there together with his mother, grandmother and aunt. He was naturalised as a British citizen in 1907 to take the Civil Service exam. After that he was working in the Admiralty for one year. When he published his first poem he decided to work as a journalist and poet.

In 1912 Chandler returned to the United States . He moved to Los Angeles after he served in the Canadian Army and in the Royal Air Force in World War I. In 1924 he married the 18-year older Pearl Cecily Hurburt. During 1922-1932 he was bookkeeper and auditor for Dabney Oil Syndicate, but he lost his job because of his alcoholism. After that he devoted himself entirely to writing. His first story was published in the magazine “Black Mask” in 1933 and his first novel The Big Sleep[4] followed six years later. The novels Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The High Window (1942), The Lady in the Lake (1944), The Little Sister (1949), The Long Goodbye (1954) and Playback (1958) came after.

Because of the success of his novels he started working as a Hollywood Screenwriter. After the death of his wife in 1954 Chandler started drinking alcohol again. His writing suffered more and more in quality and quantity and he even attempted suicide. He died on March 26 in 1959 of pneumonia.

The Long Good-Bye was published in England in November 1953 and in the United States in March 1954. It was longer than the previous novels and had a “much slower pace”[5] because the action starts in November and the case won’t be solved until August the following year. It is the most personal of Chandler’s books because of biographic matches[6]. The Story was awarded an “Edgar Award”[7] from the Mystery Writers of America in 1955 and has been turned into a movie[8] in 1973 by Jerry Bick and Robert Altman.

[...]


[1] The story is called „The Murders in the Rue Morgue“ (1941) and is the first one that has all typical elements of detective fiction. In: Nusser, Peter. Der Kriminalroman. Stuttgart; Metzler: 21992. 87.

[2] Quotations from Chandler , Raymond. The Long Goodbye. New York: The Modern Library, 1995. will be marked throughout this work by (LG, Ch. X).

[3] Van Doren, Charles, and Robert McHenry , ed.. Webster 's American Biographies. Springfield/Mass.: G. & C. Merriam Co ., 1974. 190.

[4] Chandler , Raymond. The B ig Sleep & Farewell, My Lovely. New York: The Modern Library, 1995.

[5] Anderson, George Parker, and Julie B. Anderson. American hard-boiled crime writers. In: Dictionary of Literary Biography: v.226. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2000. 85.

[6] Terry Lennox and Roger Wade are widely seen as “partial self-portraits” of Raymond Chandler. Vgl. Anderson, George Parker, and Julie B. Anderson. American hard-boiled crime writers. In: Dictionary of Literary Biography: v.226. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2000. 86.

or Marling, William. Hard-Boiled Fiction. Case Western Reserve University. Updated 2 August 2001. Http://www.cwru.edu/artsci/engl/marling/hardboiled/LongGoodbye.html

[7] The Edgar award is awarded each year by the organisation “Mystery Writers of America” to the best work in the mystery field and exists since 1945 http://www.mysterynet.com/edgars/about/ and Anderson, George Parker, and Julie B. Anderson. American hard-boiled crime writers. In: Dictionary of Literary Biography: v.226. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2000. 88.

[8] Widdicombe, Toby. A Reader’s Guide to Raymond Chandler. Westport, CT; London: Greenwood Press, 2001. 175f.

Excerpt out of 14 pages

Details

Title
The use of language in The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
College
University of Potsdam  (Institut für Anglistik/Amerikanistik)
Course
PS: „On Thinking about Hell“: Los Angeles in Fact and Fiction
Grade
2,5
Author
Year
2004
Pages
14
Catalog Number
V81464
ISBN (eBook)
9783638858397
File size
384 KB
Language
English
Tags
Long, Goodbye, Raymond, Chandler, Thinking, Hell“, Angeles, Fact, Fiction
Quote paper
Martina Hoffeins (Author), 2004, The use of language in The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/81464

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