Blowhard, Esq. writes:
English novelist John Banville writes in The Guardian about how he’s been commissioned by Raymond Chandler’s estate to write a new Philip Marlowe novel. Banville — called “the heir to Proust, via Nabokov,” a Nobel Prize contender, winner of the Booker and Franz Kafka Prize — writes:
Marlowe is one of the immortals, up there with Don Quixote, Emma Bovary and Leopold Bloom…
Is Banville correct? Does Marlowe compare to three of the undisputed immortals of world lit? I’m not qualified to say. It’s telling, though, that a man of his standing can make that comparison in one of London’s major newspapers and not be laughed out of polite society. It’s taken for granted now that, yes, of course, Chandler is one of the greatest American writers of all time.
When The Big Sleep was first published in 1939, how many critics had any inkling that a writer of pulp mysteries would one day occupy the same plane as Cervantes, Flaubert, and Joyce? Chandler’s skyrocketing rep over the decades is Exhibit A that critics, profs, and other hoity-toity intellectuals frequently have zero idea where lasting and influential art will come from.
- Back here I shared some thoughts on the novel and movie versions of The Long Goodbye.