Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep


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Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep

  1. 1. Raymond ChandleR’s How an American detective woke the world and critiqued the American
  2. 2. Raymond ChandleR’s The Big Sleep: Presentation Raymond Outline. ChandleR’s The Big Sleep: Presentation outline. • 1: Chandler’s background and literary output. 1:2: The Big Sleep, what and Chandler’s background • literary output. fiction. makes it pulp 2:3:The Big Sleep, Literary it • The Big Sleep, what makes innovations, pulp fiction? themes and motifs. 3:The Big Sleep:Literary • 4:The Big themes and motifs. innovations, Sleep, Critical reception. 4:The Big Sleep, Critical • 5: Conclusions. reception.
  3. 3. Raymond Chandler: 1888 – 1959 A life. • • • • • • • • • • Born July1888 Chicago, Illinois, United States. Spent early years in Nebraska surrounded by close family. 1895: Abandoned by his father, an alcoholic civil engineer employed by the railways, the Chandler family emigrate to London, England supported by Chandler’s maternal Quaker uncle a successful lawyer based in Waterford Ireland. Classically educated at Dulwich College Prep School, whose alumni include authors P Wodehouse and C.S. Forester. .G. Chandler spent his childhood summers with his maternal uncle in Waterford. Spurned university, instead spending time in Paris and Munich, ostensibly to improve his language skills. 1907: Became a naturalised British Citizen in order to take the civil service examination. Spent a year at the Admiralty. 1912: Returned to U.S. settling in San Francisco, took various menial jobs including stringing tennis rackets and picking fruit.. 1913: Moved to Los Angeles and began working for The Los Angeles Creamery Corp. across California. 1917: Enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, seeing combat in France, experiencing shell shock and undergoing flight training with the RAF when the war ended.
  4. 4. Raymond Chandler, the writer: • • • • • • • • • 1907: Publishes his first romantic poem. 1908: Becomes a reporter for The Daily Express and the Bristol Western Gazette newspapers. An unsuccessful journalist. 1908-1911: Writes poetry and essays for Westminster Gazette and The Academy. 1933: Blackmailers Don’t Shoot his first Pulp short story published in Black Mask Magazine. 1934-1938: Publishes 15 short stories in Black Mask and Dime Detective. 1939: Publishes debut novel The Big Sleep ,the first of novels 1944: Co-wrote his first screen play Double indemnity with Billy Wilder.,4 further screenwriter credits would follow. 1946: Writes his last Phillip Marlowe novel, Playback in San Diego. 1957: Writes his final short story, The Pencil.. “Wandering up and down the Pacific Coast in an automobile I began to read pulp magazines, because they were cheap enough to throw away and because I never had at any time any taste for the kind of thing which is known as women’s magazines. This was in the great days of the Black Mask…and it struck me that some of the writing was pretty forceful and honest, even though it had its crude aspect. I
  5. 5. Clip from Howard Hawks seminal 1946 film adaptation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t8H07c30i o&feature=related
  6. 6. The Big Sleep: what makes it pulp fiction? 1.Sales volumes. 2.Number of Film adaptations etc. 3.Chandler’s unashamed ‘Cannibalisation’. 4.Content: Sex, drugs, blackmail and high society. 5.The hero: Cynical, hardboiled and dangerous to know. 6.Narrative technique: Plot twists. 7.Humour.
  7. 7. The Big Sleep: Literary innovations, themes and motifs.
  8. 8. The Big Sleep: Critical reception.
  9. 9. Conclusions:
  10. 10. Discussion questions: A 1. What makes the hard boiled detective such an enduring character in literature and wider culture? 2. Why was the hard boiled detective an American rather than a European creation? 3. How does the hard boiled detective develop the tropes of the Cowboy? B 1. In what shape does the American Dream emerge from the end of The Big Sleep?
  11. 11. Raymond Chandler interview part ¼ from 5:40 onwards: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj6cc0T1z7I