Raymond Chandler

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Raymond Thornton Chandler (July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959) was an Anglo-American novelist and screenwriter who had an immense stylistic influence upon the modern private detective story, especially in the style of the writing and the attitudes now characteristic of the genre. His protagonist, Philip Marlowe, along with Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade, is considered synonymous with "private detective", both being played on screen by Humphrey Bogart.

Contents

Early life

Chandler was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1888, and moved to the United Kingdom in 1900[1] with his Irish-born mother after they were abandoned by his father, an alcoholic civil engineer who worked for a North American railway company. His uncle, a successful lawyer, supported them.[2] After attending a local school in Upper Norwood, Chandler was classically educated at Dulwich College, London (a public school whose alumni also include the authors P.G. Wodehouse[2] and C. S. Forester). He did not attend university, instead spending time in Paris and Munich. In 1907, he was naturalised as a British subject in order to take the civil service examination, which he passed with the third-highest score. He then took an Admiralty job, lasting just over a year. His first poem was published during that time.[3]

Chandler disliked the servility of the civil service and resigned, to the consternation of his family, becoming a reporter for the Daily Express and the Bristol Western Gazette newspapers. He was an unsuccessful journalist, published reviews and continued writing romantic poetry. Accounting for that time he said, "Of course in those days as now there were...clever young men who made a decent living as freelances for the numerous literary weeklies..." but "...I was distinctly not a clever young man. Nor was I at all a happy young man." [4]

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