The Metaphysics of Detective Marlowe

The Metaphysics of Detective Marlowe : Style, Vision, Hard-Boiled Repartee, Thugs, and Death-Dealing Damsels in Raymond Chandler's Novels

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Raymond Chandler's role in the reshaping of hard-boiled literature can hardly be exaggerated. He shattered the dogmas of a genre content to be popular, and paved the way for a noble, complex and aristocratic destiny. He implemented his revolutionary vision by radical changes in style, manner, and character construction. Like his hero, Philip Marlowe, he was fascinated with the metaphysical features of existence: honor, pride, loneliness, disenchantemnet, futility, failure, horror, boredom, alienation, rebellion, fear, moral paralysis. Mircea Mihaies reexamines the major contradiction of Chandler's hero: though in the service of truth, he is often forced to realize that truth is sordid, repulsive, malicious, aggressive, and rapacious. Out of this baffling position, a new American genre and type of hero have more

Product details

  • Hardback | 230 pages
  • 160.02 x 226.06 x 22.86mm | 430.91g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739186574
  • 9780739186572

Review quote

Raymond Chandler and Philip Marlowe come to life in Mircea Mihaies's hugely enjoyable and scholarly read. A book for scholars, whiskey-drinking private eyes, and machine-gun molls alike. -- Clive Bloom, Middlesex University Intelligent, lively, and always right on target, Mihaies's book is a splendid introduction to Raymond Chandler's work. A must read for lovers of detective fiction and of smart literary criticism. -- Thomas Pavel, University of Chicago Mircea Mihaies has given more than a comprehensive account of a literary genre and one of its most successful exemplars, Raymond Chandler's crime fiction. He also writes with erudition and passion, and his book is jam-packed with analytic detail, while never losing sight of the larger picture, which is about more than just detective stories, and even more than just literature. Bold in claims, The Metaphysics of Detective Marlowe is a reflection on the complicated relation between social morality and individual conscience, as well as virtue and vice in American modernity. -- Andreea Deciu Ritivoi, Carnegie Mellon University A brilliant Central European intellectual, Mircea Mihaies is a literary critic situated in the great tradition of Lionel Trilling and Edmund Wilson. He innovatively recreates the harrowing universe of detective Marlowe and invites us to visit a labyrinth of haunting shadows, dark neuroses, and compulsive passions. A fresh and inspiring perspective, free of any obscure jargon and full of original insights. -- Vladimir Tismaneanu, University of Maryland, author of Stalinism for All Seasons: A Political Historyshow more

About Mircea Mihaies

Mircea Mihaies is professor of English and American literatures at the University of the West, Timisoara, Romania, and the director of its American studies MA program. He is a four time recipient of the prestigious Romanian Writers' Union prize for literary more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments Introduction: Marlowe Before Marlowe Chapter 1: The Doughy Mass of Depravity Chapter 2: A Phantasm Called Style Chapter 3: The Villainy Septet Chapter 4: Marlowe After Marlowe References Index About the Authorshow more