Raymond Chandler died fifty years ago this week and I have a piece about him and his ‘reverse romances’ at The Rumpus:
Marlowe is an Arthurian knight in a leaky convertible and General Sternwood chooses him restore order to his kingdom. At the beginning of the novel Marlowe looks up at the stained glass window above the door of the Sternwood mansion, where a knight is rescuing a naked woman who is tied to a tree, and decides that if he lived in the house he would have to get up there and do it himself. When he discovers Carmen Sternwood naked, drugged and insensible in the house of a pornographer he tries to help her. But it is understood from the beginning of the book that there is no hope of redemption for anyone involved. Later Marlowe makes a wrong move in a chess problem and declares: ‘It wasn’t a game for knights’.