Quote of the Week: Raymond Chandler

I've been rereading “The Simple Art of Murder,” Raymond Chandler’s essay on the state of mystery fiction as it was in 1944. It’s a super-interesting piece. While some of the writers he references are no longer widely read -- or even read at all -- most of what he shares here is entirely thought-provoking and worthy of sharing.

I could pull a dozen quotes from this super piece. Two dozen. It’s a little bizarre to me that so much of this essay resonates over 60 years after it was written. Here, however, is a single thought, one of the many from this piece that seems to have picked up absolutely no dust:
As for “literature of expression” and “literature of escape” -- this is critics’ jargon, a use of abstract words as if they had absolute meanings. Everything written with vitality expresses that vitality: there are no dull subjects, only dull minds.

Comments

Billy said…
Makes sense to me. Vitality is what counts, not critics' jargon. I cut my teeth on mysteries--Perry Mason, to be specific--when I was seven. Dashiell Hammett is reputed to be a very distant relative, and if so, I will be proud. His hardboiled style works for me.
What gets me is how fresh, overall, Chandler's comments from that essay have stayed. I mean, yeah: you have to dust a little bit but the heart of the thing seems to resonate.

And I'd be proud of the name, too, Billy. I'm a huge fan of Hammett's, still. (Well, of his work. He might not have been so fun to hang out with all the time.)

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