Raymond Chandler by Fredric Jameson
The Detections of Totality

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Readers of Jameson’s 1991 book Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, with its bravura scrutiny of LA’s Bonaventure Hotel, will not be surprised by his interest in the phantasmic non-places of Chandler’s fiction.
-Guardian

Synopsis

The master of literary theory takes on the master of the detective novel

Raymond Chandler, a dazzling stylist and portrayer of American life, holds a unique place in literary history, straddling both pulp fiction and modernism. With The Big Sleep, published in 1939, he left an indelible imprint on the detective novel. Fredric Jameson offers an interpretation of Chandler’s work that reconstructs both the context in which it was written and the social world or totality it projects. Chandler’s invariable setting, Los Angeles, appears both as a microcosm of the United States and a prefiguration of its future: a megalopolis uniquely distributed by an unpromising nature into a variety of distinct neighborhoods and private worlds. But this essentially urban and spatial work seems also to be drawn towards a vacuum, an absence that is nothing other than death. With Chandler, the thriller genre becomes metaphysical.
 

About Fredric Jameson

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Fredric R. Jameson, Marxist theorist and professor of comparative literature at Duke University, was born in Cleveland in 1934. He earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University and taught at Harvard, the University of California at San Diego, and Yale University before moving to Duke in 1985. He most famous work is Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, which won the Modern Language Association's Lowell Award. Jameson was among the first to associate a specific set of political and economic circumstances with the term postmodernism. His other books include Sartre: The Origin of a Style, The Seeds of Time, and The Cultural Turn.
 
Published August 23, 2016 by Verso. 95 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Brian Dillon on Mar 03 2017

Readers of Jameson’s 1991 book Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, with its bravura scrutiny of LA’s Bonaventure Hotel, will not be surprised by his interest in the phantasmic non-places of Chandler’s fiction.

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