Simple Art of Murder

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Author: Chandler, Raymond Thornton (1888-1959)

Year: 1950

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company

Place: Boston


x+533 pages. Octavo (8 1/4" x 5 3/4") bound in original publisher's beige cloth with brown lettering to spine and cover in original pictorial jacket. First edition.

The Simple Art of Murder is hard-boiled detective fiction author Raymond Chandler's critical essay, a magazine article, and his collection of short stories. The essay was first published in The Atlantic Monthly in December 1944. The magazine article appeared in the Saturday Review of Literature, April 15, 1950. The article, somewhat rewritten, served to introduce the collection The Simple Art of Murder, 1950 (Houghton Mifflin Co.), which contained eight of Chandler's early stories pre-dating his first novel, The Big Sleep. The essay is considered a seminal piece of literary criticism. Although Chandler's primary topic is the art (and failings) of detective fiction, he touches on general literature and modern society as well. Chandler reserves his praise for Dashiell Hammett. Although Chandler and Hammett were contemporaries and grouped as the founders of the hard-boiled school, Chandler speaks of Hammett as the "one individual... picked out to represent the whole movement," noting Hammett's mastery of the "American language", his adherence to reality, and that he "gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reasons, not just to provide a corpse."


Book plate to front paste-down, spine ends rubbed with a few minor splits, some age toning to edges. Jacket spine sunned, edge wear with some small chips and closed tears and creases, some tape repairs to verso, spine head chipped with tape repair else a very good copy in about a very good jacket.

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