Raymond Chandler Watch: Grammar Is My Business

The hardtalking staff is a longtime lover of the works of Dasheill Hammett and Raymond Chandler, who we’ve always thought of as the Homer and Virgil, respectively, of pulp fiction.

Now comes a new book, The World of Raymond Chandler: In His Own Words, edited by Barry Day. Liesl Schillinger’s otherwise workmanlike review in the New York Times includes this:

BOOK2-master180Chandler did not invent the private eye — Dashiell Hammett and a few others got there first. But his vision is the one that caught the public eye and stuck most indelibly in the imagination, like — in one of his aromatic metaphors — “a tarantula on a slice of angel food.”

Yeah . . . except that’s a simile, not a metaphor.

Not to get technical about it. As Chandler himself might say.

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7 Responses to Raymond Chandler Watch: Grammar Is My Business

  1. Bob Gardner says:

    Schillinger uses “like” and is making a simile. The passage in quotes, as it stands, is a metaphor. I’d like to see where Chandler used that phrase. Maybe “like” belongs in quotes with the rest of the phrase, but it’s not punctuated that way.

  2. Bill says:

    Chandler’s essay “the Simple Art of Murder” is the best essay on any topic I have ever read. He makes his points with clarity and meaningful examples, no cliches except where they make sense, and no convoluted, academic writing. He neatly summarizes at lerast half a dozen mystery stories from various authors and, for each, explains where it is good, bad, or both and why. It’s a long but riveting essay, and is also a lesson in how you can effectively make a case with well-reasoned piece. It taught me more about good writing than any course. It has a flow to it that shows how you go from stating your case, to making your case, to concluding and extending your case. Read and study Chandler’s essay and Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” and you can skip formal “good writing” classes–these two works are the best.

  3. Pingback: Christmas Present: Chandler’s ‘The Simple Art of Murder’ | Campaign Outsider

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