"I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be."Raymond Chandler. The Big Sleep. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1939. First edition. Octavo. [viii], -277, [1, colophon], [2, blank] pages. Publisher's original orange cloth, front board and spine stamped in blue. Original full-color dust jacket. Very minor edge and corner wear to the cloth, with very slight fading to the spine. Some discoloration along the hinges of the endpapers from binder's glue. Dark blue topstain slightly rubbed. A few tiny chips and areas of loss to the jacket edges and the spine ends. One very short closed tear to top edge of jacket. Light rubbing and minimal dust-soiling to the jacket, with the spine lightly faded. Minor toning to the verso of the jacket panels. A very attractive copy of Chandler's seminal work, rarely encountered in an unrestored dust jacket of this caliber. This novel introduced Philip Marlowe, and established the primacy of the hard-boiled detective novel as a genre during the 30's and 40's. A Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone. Bruccoli, Chandler, A1.1a.
"'Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid....He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man.' This is the Code of the Private Eye as defined by Raymond Chandler in his 1944 essay 'The Simple Act of Murder.' Such a man was Philip Marlowe, private eye, an educated, heroic, streetwise, rugged individualist and the hero of Chandler's first novel, The Big Sleep. This work established Chandler as the master of the 'hard-boiled' detective novel, and his articulate and literary style of writing won him a large audience, which ranged from the man in the street to the most sophisticated intellectual. Marlowe subsequently appeared in a series of extremely popular novels, among them The Lady in the Lake, The Long Goodbye, and Farewell, My Lovely" (Elizabeth Diefendorf, editor, The New York Public Library's Books of the Century, p. 112).
Selected as one of Time Magazine's All-Time 100 Novels, with the following review: "'I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be.' This sentence, from the first paragraph of The Big Sleep, marks the last time you can be fully confident that you know what's going on. The first novel by Raymond Chandler, who at the time was a 51-year-old former oil company executive, is a mosaic of shadows, a dark tracery of forking paths. Along them wanders Philip Marlowe, a cynical, perfectly hard-boiled private investigator hired by an old millionaire to find the husband of his beautiful, bitchy wildcat daughter. Marlowe is tough and determined, and he does his best to be a good guy, but there are no true heroes in Chandler's sun-baked, godforsaken Los Angeles, and every plot turn reveals how truly twisted the human heart is."
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