Raymond Thornton Chandler (July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959) was an American novelist and screenwriter.

In 1932, at age forty-four, Raymond Chandler decided to become a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Depression. His first short story, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot", was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939. In addition to his short stories, Chandler published just seven full novels during his lifetime (though an eighth in progress at his death was completed by Robert B. Parker). All but Playback have been realized into motion pictures, some several times. In the year before he died, he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. He died on March 26, 1959, in La Jolla, California.

Chandler had an immense stylistic influence on American popular literature, and is considered by many to be a founder, along with Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and other Black Mask writers, of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction. His protagonist, Philip Marlowe, along with Hammett's Sam Spade, is considered by some to be synonymous with "private detective," both having been played on screen by Humphrey Bogart, whom many considered to be the quintessential Marlowe.

Some of Chandler's novels are considered to be important literary works, and three are often considered to be masterpieces: Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The Little Sister (1949), and The Long Goodbye (1953). The Long Goodbye is praised within an anthology of American crime stories as "arguably the first book since Hammett's The Glass Key, published more than twenty years earlier, to qualify as a serious and significant mainstream novel that just happened to possess elements of mystery".

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Raymond Chandler Poems

The Unknown Love

When the evening sun is slanting,
When the crickets raise their chanting,
And the dewdrops lie a-twinkling on the grass,... more »

Raymond Chandler Quotes

It is pretty obvious that the debasement of the human mind caused by a constant flow of fraudulent advertising is no trivial thing. There is more than one way to conquer a country.
Raymond Chandler (1888-1959), U.S. author. Letter, November 15, 1951, to his New York literary agent Carl Brandt. Raymond Chandler Speaking (1962).
It is just possible that the tensions in a novel of murder are the simplest and yet most complete pattern of the tensions on which we live in this generation.
Raymond Chandler (1888-1959), U.S. author. letter, Oct. 17, 1948, to critic James Sandoe. Raymond Chandler Speaking (1962).
They don't want you until you have made a name, and by the time you have made a name, you have developed some kind of talent they can't use. All they will do is spoil it, if you let them.
Raymond Chandler (1888-1959), U.S. author. Letter, November 7, 1951, to editor Dale Warren. Raymond Chandler Speaking (1962).

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