Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Gilke's relentless sense of integrity could at times be excessive. PG Wodehouse, who left Dulwich [College] in the year of [Raymond] Chandler's arrival, remembered the Master as the sort of man who would approach him after a good cricket performance and say 'Fine innings, Wodehouse, but remember we all die in the end.'"

from Raymond Chandler by Tom Hiney. Also:

"There would be an intense blackout scene involving amnesia and usually alcohol in every one of Chandler's Marlowe novels, as well as in one of his Hollywood screenplays. In fact, the blackout scene became a distinct trademark of Marlowe's adventures. These scenes were given such prominence and space throughout Chandler's writing that they beg at least two clear biographical correlations. First the German bombardment that left Chandler unconscious during the First World War and ended his infrantry career. Second, the blackouts that he experienced when he drank heavily; specifically, the sustained binge he embarked on at Dabney's.

There are of course other, less subtextual, reasons why Chandler may have detailed so many blackouts. Like other serial heroes, Marlowe must fight villains, but he can never die. One way in which his survival could retain any sort of credibility is for him to receive regular non-fatal blows. That said, few action writers can ever have given the head injury so much attention, or lavished upon it as much imagery, as did Chandler."

No comments: