Sunday, April 02, 2017


A Classical Education

Raymond Chandler, letter to Hamish Hamilton (November 10, 1950):
As a mystery writer, I think I am a bit of an anomaly, since most mystery writers of the American school are only semi-literate; and I am not only literate but intellectual, much as I dislike the term. It would seem that a classical education might be rather a poor basis for writing novels in a hard-boiled vernacular. I happen to think otherwise. A classical education saves you from being fooled by pretentiousness, which is what most current fiction is too full of. In this country the mystery writer is looked down on as sub-literary merely because he is a mystery writer, rather than for instance a writer of social significance twaddle. To a classicist—even a very rusty one—such an attitude is merely a parvenu insecurity.
Chandler was an alumnus of Dulwich College, where the Master was A.H. Gilkes.

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