Chandler’s Hardboiled England: World War II, Imperialism, and Transatlantic Exchange

Print Friendly

In some strange way to be English is, often, to be a member of a cult of the dead, or, at the very least, a member of a cult of ruin.

--Ian Baucom, Englishness, Empire and the Locations of Identity 1

Raymond Chandler often liked to remind his friends and correspondents of his English public school education at Dulwich College in South London. Dulwich, he explained to his publisher Blanche Knopf in 1940, was "one of the larger English Public Schools, not ranking with Eton, Harrow, Charterhouse or Marlborough, but certainly ranking ahead of many of those which Life made a fuss over in its last issue." 2 Life had run a short piece on public schools as part of a long photo-essay dedicated to "England" as Britain began its first major combat operations of World War II. Portraying a strange and distant country divided by class-based inequality and eccentric customs, Life described England's greatest contributions to civilization as "free speech and tea." 3 Chandler noted, with some irritation, the magazine's inability to differentiate between a 'school tie' and an 'old school tie.' 4 Though he had dwelt in Southern California since 1912, he counted himself an expert in such matters. "I daresay these pathetic relics of a lost world are no longer worth accuracy," he went on (SL 15). However, if the onset of twentieth-century modernity had threatened the distinction of such badges of rank and status, then it was not quite true that Chandler himself had given up on them. In his 1953 novel The Long Goodbye, the narrative's fulcrumPhilip Marlowe's discovery of Eileen Wade's duplicityturns upon his knowledge of British regimental badges from World War II. The badge she wears, and which she claims was given to her by Terry Lennox during his service in the Artists' Rifles, bears in fact a Special Air Service insigne and was not created until 1947, several years after his supposed death. Confronted with Marlowe's accusation, she admits that it is a reproduction bought in a New York shop specializing in "imported British luxuries, things like leather goods, hand-made brogues, regimental and school ties and cricket blazers, knickknacks with coats of arms on them and so on." 5 The badge is a simulacrum of English prestige offered for sale across the Atlantic, and Chandler has lent Marlowe the authority to discriminate among such signs of upper-class gentility. If we accept Franco Moretti's classic thesis that the conservative structure of detective fiction demands the restoration of the social order, "to reinstate a preceding situation, a return to the beginning," then we might add that in Chandler's work this process included the rehabilitation of a certain form of endangered English authenticity along with the class-based hierarchy which authorizes it. 6 In the case of both the old school tie and the regimental badge, Chandler's concern is to defend England's "pathetic relics" from appropriation by a foreign other. The interesting point for our analysis is that this other is not, as one might expect, Britain's enemy in World War II, but its ally, the United States.

My aim here is to reorientate our sense of Chandler's hardboiled fiction by understanding such transatlantic dynamics to betoken deeper structures of affiliation and exchange between his own sense of belated, embattled Englishness and the changing status of the United States as it developed into a global superpower in the first half of the twentieth century.  These structures played a determining role in shaping a generic form which is often misrecognized as a pure native species. 7 While Chandler's reputation as a paradigmatic figure in hardboiled literary history tends to entail an evasion of his transatlantic dialectic, I wish to suggest how the ghosts of his English cultural adolescence around the turn of twentieth century continued to haunt him throughout his mature career. My spectral imagery is not incidental, for in my reading of The Long Goodbye and "English Summer: A Gothic Romance," I will be examining the ways in which English presence is constantly conjured only to appear as its own fading afterlife, discernible in empty signs of death and loss. The culmination of these motifs comes in "English Summer," as the narrator is watched by "large, hollow eyes in which a world was already dead" while he crosses London's Russell Square. 8 The campy Gothicism of this posthumously-published story has never been taken seriously by literary scholars. However, it is precisely its generic and stylistic excesses which will help us to understand how Chandler's transatlantic orientation structured his hardboiled fiction. In a 1949 letter he responded to a discussion of his work in Partisan Review by complaining of how, unlike the English, his American readers did not "see the strong element of burlesque in my kind of writing." He added, "there is a strong element of fantasy in the mystery story; there is in any kind of writing that moves within an accepted formula. The mystery writer's material is melodrama..." (SL 150). Melodrama, I will argue, was the means by which Chandler expressed his transatlantic hauntings and mourned the death of his English ideals.

It is appropriate, then, that the strains of Gothic burlesque and romance which Chandler understood to be fundamental to his writing have been largely absent from orthodox critical accounts of his work, along with serious consideration of his English affiliations. 9 Like Dashiell Hammett, his inclusion in the canon has often been premised on his amenability to models of American vernacular modernism, and on the fetishization of an economical, restrained and implicitly masculinist prose style. 10 This perspective is supported by comments Chandler himself made in his correspondence, for example writing in 1942 of his desire for a prose like Ernest Hemingway's, that was "cold and hard and clean and ventilated," purged, one must imagine, of the kind of mannerisms usually associated with the melodramatic mode of the European nineteenth century in its Gothic and romantic guises. In order for hardboiled fiction to approach the cultural prestige afforded high modernismto become what several scholars have called "America's pulp modernism"Chandler's Anglophile, melodramatic imagination could not be allowed to emerge and disrupt this disciplined surface. 11 As Christine Gledhill has written, melodrama was constituted at the moment of modernism's emergence as a "fall from the seriousness and maturity of the realist novel . . . an anti-value in a critical field in which tragedy and realism became cornerstones of 'high' cultural value, needing protection from mass, 'melodramatic' entertainment." 12 To evoke Chandler's melodramatic excesses, as I intend to here, is then to suggest a failure of containment on numerous levels - those of cultural exceptionalism, periodization, genre, and, finally, of cultural stratification.

English Cultural Nostalgia and the Structure of Belatedness

In 1945 Chandler told his British publisher, Jamie Hamilton, that "incidentally, I still regard myself as an exile, and want to come back" (SL 62). Although born in Chicago to Irish parents, Chandler spent the years 1895-1912, between the ages of 7 and 24, living in South London, first as a schoolboy, then a civil servant, and finally as an execrable poet, essayist and reviewer on the fringes of the late Edwardian and early Georgian literary scene. He dreamed of returning from at least 1932, when he wrote a romantic poem eulogizing "the England I picture in the night hours / Of this bright and dismal land / Of my exile and dismay." 13 When his wife Cissy died in 1955 he was finally able to fulfil this desire and spent much of his remaining life once again in London, albeit often disillusioned by the cultural decline he discovered there. In the sense that Chandler understood his own imaginative life to be shaped by displacement and nostalgia, his hardboiled fiction is itself an art of exile, haunted by the ghosts of nineteenth-century English cultural authority. It was only after World War II, however, that his self-conscious exile fully emerged in his fiction and correspondence as a sense of belatedness in which he recognized himself not only as English but also as Victorian. In 1946 he wrote to Alfred Knopf to acknowledge receipt of The Works of Max Beerbohm which had been lent to him:

I found it sad reading. It belongs to the age of taste, to which I once belonged. It took me back too far, to that slim immortal volume which I still possess. What a magnificent writer the old boy somehow did not become. Born half a century too late, I suppose. (SL 62)

Later in the same letter Chandler admitted "it is possibly that like Max Beerbohm I was born half a century too late, and that I too belong to an age of grace. I could so easily have become everything our world has no use for" (SL 64). It is an interesting slippage which transforms "the age of taste" into one of "grace" and thereby identifies the English fin de siècle as an oddly privileged moment of belatedness, associated not only with the aestheticist rejection of utilitarianism but also with a certain divinely sanctioned authority, lost in the course of the twentieth century. Chandler's notebooks record his view that American style "is utilitarian and essentially vulgar," and his affinities with Beerbohm suggest the way in which fin-de-siècle aestheticism offered an implicit corrective to its shortcomings. 14 Chandler had been a 6-year-old living in the Midwest when The Yellow Book was first published, confirming Beerbohm's rising reputation as one of London's great dandies, and yet it was with this moment in English cultural history that the hardboiled writer identified himself.

If the immediate postwar period produced in Chandler a particularly virulent form of nostalgia for the age of taste, it was in large part through contrast with the development of the American culture industry during the 1940s, or what he called the "entertainment trusts." These, as he wrote in his article "Ten Percent of Your Life," were "congeries of powerful organizations which existed solely to exploit the commercial value of talent in every possible direction and with the utmost possible disregard for artistic or intellectual values." 15 "You cannot have art without a public taste and you cannot have a public taste without a sense of style and quality throughout the social structure" he told Hamish Hamilton in 1949, inviting implicit comparison with the late nineteenth century in England:

Curiously enough this sense of style seems to have very little to do with refinement or even with humanity. It can exist in a savage and dirty age but it cannot exist in the age of Milton Berle, Mary Margaret McBride, the Book of the Month Club, the Hearst press, and the Coca-Cola machine. (SL 181)

This increasingly desperate pessimism about the mass commercialization of culture in the American 1940s followed naturally from his experience of working as a Hollywood screenwriter between 1943 and 1948, and coincides with Adorno and Horkheimer's famous critique of the culture industry in Dialectic of Enlightenment, as well as with comparable polemics published by Clement Greenberg, Dwight MacDonald and others in Partisan Review, an intellectual periodical which Chandler subscribed to. 16 Unlike these figures, however, who looked to the values of Franz Kafka, Arnold Schoenberg and abstract expressionism in order to resist mass culture, Chandler's response was a deliberately untimely one which staged an encounter between the ideals of fin-de-siècle English style, taste and social manners on one hand and the vacuous, commercialized cultural landscape of postwar Los Angeles on the other, to the apparent exclusion of the radical innovations of early-twentieth-century modernism. It is out of this strange dialectic that Chandler's late work The Long Goodbye evolved in the early 1950s.

The Long Goodbye was published in Britain in November of 1953, four months before it appeared in the United States. A year previously, Chandler had visited London for the first time in several decades, where he noted a new "aggressiveness about the working classes and the non-Public School types," and observed that "the real Public School types, or many of them, with their bird-like chirpings are becoming a little ridiculous" (SL 327). Given his concerns over the destabilization of the British class structure, it is appropriate that the real "mystery" in The Long Goodbye has little to do with finding the murderer of Sylvia Lennox, but instead involves the duplicitous appropriation of an inauthentic model of English upper-class identity and its necessary unmasking. When Marlowe first meets Terry Lennox he is drunk inside a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, the first car produced by the British luxury automobile firm after World War II.  "He gets so goddam English when he's loaded" (420), complains his wife Sylvia as Terry politely thanks Marlowe for his assistance. The detective asks him if he is English, to which he replies "I've lived there. I wasn't born there" (422). Like Chandler himself, Terry Lennox's Englishness comes through assimilation rather than birthright. As Marlowe comments, "although he wasn't English he had some of the mannerisms" (431). The relationship which the two men form together is founded on the drinking of gimlets, made in the English way, and is symbolically consolidated when Terry leaves his English suitcase at Marlowe's apartment. However, in the novel's final episode, as Terry discards his Mexican disguise, it becomes clear to Marlowe that his admiration for Lennox's old-fashioned, genteel English ways has blinded him to the ethical void lurking behind a performed identity as inauthentic as his hammy Spanish accent:

You had nice ways and nice qualities, but there was something wrong. You had standards and you lived up to them, but they were personal. They had no relation to any kind of ethics or scruples. You were a nice guy because you had a nice nature. But you were just as happy with mugs or hoodlums as with honest men. Provided the hoodlums spoke fairly good English and had fairly acceptable table manners. (732-3)

The distinction we are invited to make here, between personal "standards" and a more substantive category of "ethics or scruples," belongs to the inscrutable realms of Marlowe's moral universe, a subject to which we will return later. For the moment, however, it is enough to note the way in which Terry Lennox is presented in The Long Goodbye as a seductive apparition of Englishness, made visible purely through signs and gestures of national affiliation, but ultimately devoid of presence. As he takes leave of Marlowe for the last time, the point is made in the most emphatic way: "'An act is all there is. There isn't anything else. In here - ' he tapped his chest with the lighter - 'there isn't anything'" (734). Lennox returns twice from beyond the grave, once after his supposed death at the hands of the Gestapo in World War II, and once again after his faked suicide in Mexico. The classically Gothic motif which finds the repressed past erupting unbidden into the present is staged here as the return of hollow English etiquette emptied of its ethical content. In this sense the "long goodbye" of the novel's title refers to a series of failed exorcisms in which English ghosts cannot be laid to rest.

On occasions in The Long Goodbye, these English manners become refigured as the pursuit of an unattainable and empty ideal, in terms which recall the patterns of debates over pure aesthetics in the European fin de siècle. Chandler recalled in a 1947 letter having heard George Bernard Shaw lecture on art for art's sake in London in the early twentieth century, and remarked wistfully that it "seems to have meant something then" (SL 96). When Terry Lennox, sipping gimlets in Victor's bar, tells Marlowe that sex is "excitement of high order, but it's an impure emotion - impure in the aesthetic sense" (435), he is rehearsing arguments in which Chandler himself participated in his days as a littérateur on the London scene. In his 1912 essay "The Phrasemaker," he criticized the figure of the fastidious aesthete who shrinks from "the brutal, mercenary and vulgar sides of life," and "shuts his eyes to everything but perfection." 17 The alternative aesthetics which Chandler proposes in this essay is espoused by the artist who can "embroider both the mud-puddles and the rose-gardens of life into his art." 18  Marlowe's response to Lennox's aestheticist posturing and revulsion at the drunken women in the bar is comparably critical: "'Take it easy,' I said. 'So they're human, they sweat, they get dirty, they have to go to the bathroom. What did you expect - golden butterflies hovering in a rosy mist?'" (436). Like the phrasemaker's, Lennox's world is ordered "by its appeal to his own conception of beauty" and must therefore operate through a mechanism of hermetic exclusion which is offset by Marlowe's more comprehensive, universalist vision. 19

This hermeticism, which seeks to preserve a space uncontaminated by contemporary American vulgarity, becomes one of the most important themes in The Long Goodbye. Idle Valley in Encino, where Terry Lennox's "pseudo-English" (475) house is situated, along with the luxury residences of the Wades and Lorings, is characterized as "Paradise Incorporated, and also Highly Restricted. Only the nicest people. Absolutely no Central Europeans. Just the cream, the top drawer crowd, the lovely, lovely people . . . Pure gold" (624). The English locutions here (especially 'top drawer'), alongside the signs of xenophobia and self-congratulating elitism, combine to suggest a social correlative to Lennox's squeamish aestheticism. Chandler at one point wished to title the work "Summer in Idle Valley," in order to complement its dominant structural motif, whereby pristine, enclosed spaces associated with comfort and leisure, whether physical, ideological or aesthetic, are revealed to contain a malevolent void denoting the flight of ethical values. 20 This structure is perhaps most clearly presented in the case of Harlan Potter, a press tycoon and father of the murdered Sylvia Lennox. As Marlowe describes him while they drink tea together, Potter emerges as a desperately belated figure nostalgic for the same fin-de-siècle moment with which Chandler identified himself: "you use what power you have to close off a private corner to live in as near as possible to the way you remember people lived fifty years ago before the age of mass production" (613). Indeed, Potter's attack on mass production sounds very much like Chandler's own, scattered through his correspondence from the same period in the 1950s, where the postwar boom in the United States is criticized for its reliance upon "an economy of overproduction." 21 This moment of authorial self-identification is fraught, however, by the revelation of Potter's moral hypocrisy, for despite what he calls "the shocking decline in both public and private morals" (612), he would rather protect his own privileged status than find his daughter's killer. As Terry Lennox comments earlier in novel, Potter is "all Victorian dignity on the outside. Inside he's as ruthless as a Gestapo thug" (436).

Chandler's engagement with the notion of belated Englishness in The Long Goodbye indicates the way in which he used the novel as a means to structure his own conflicted, transatlantic identity. He wrote in 1950 of his first arrival in California before World War I, "with a beautiful wardrobe, a public-school accent . . . and a contempt for the natives which, I am sorry to say, has in some measure persisted to this day" (SL 236). It is precisely this question of persistence which is at stake in The Long Goodbye's transatlantic engagements, for the pseudo-colonial sense of English superiority inscribed there is postwar revenant which gestures towards a genuinely authoritative presence buried elsewhere, even as it raises the possibility that such a presence is itself an illusion. The elsewhere from which these spectres emerge is both England and the past, which for the moment remain safely inaccessible to 1950s Los Angeles. Whereas in earlier novels such as The High Window authenticity is figured in a discoverable object (not incidentally, a coin from the colonial period), the pleasures of the treasure-hunting romance are here transformed into a Gothic betrayal of doubt over the very concept of origins.

Hardboiled Melodrama and the Moral Occult

The most melodramatic moment in Chandler's oeuvre occurs in his first novel, The Big Sleep, when Carmen Sternwood leaves Marlowe's bed after having her sexual advances rejected by the detective. Marlowe stands at the window, listening to the sounds of Carmen shutting the door to the apartment building, walking to her car and driving away:

I went back to the bed and looked down at it. The imprint of her head was still in the pillow, of her small corrupt body still on the sheets. I put my empty glass down and tore the bed to pieces savagely. 22

Throughout the vexed critical history of the term "melodrama," the notion of excess remains one of the few constants. 23 Marlowe's violent displacement of his desire for Carmen onto the bed is an excess which follows from the breakdown of the economy of control imposed by the detective upon all his conduct. The particular effectiveness of this passage comes, however, from the way in which control is re-established through style just as it is relinquished to savage violence at the level of plot. Walter Mosley has argued, as a hardboiled writer himself, that the language of the genre is "a form of understanding how helpless we are in the face of our passions, our power, and our innate inability to do right on the grand scale of society." 24 While suggestive of the melodramatic economy I am sketching out here, Mosley's perspective does not take account of the way in which hardboiled style always reasserts control over content even as it threatens to unravel. In this sense, it exists in a permanent state of crisis. The dialectic of style and plot, in which violence and excess is experienced inversely, as its own afterimage projected onto the barely restraining surfaces of language, is one of hardboiled's  most defining characteristics.

In film studies, where the study of melodrama has received greater coverage than in literary studies, such processes of containment and excess have long been associated with the melodramatic mode. As Geoffrey Nowell-Smith suggested in his essay on Italian film director Vicente Minnelli, the repressive forces at play in the structure of melodramatic film (in this case the patriarchal structure of the family) tend to generate emotional and libidinal excesses which cannot be accommodated:

What is characteristic of the melodrama, both in its original sense and the modern one, is the way the excess is siphoned off. The undischarged emotion which cannot be accommodated within the action . . . is traditionally expressed in the music and, in the case of film, in certain elements of the mise en scène. That is to say, music and mise en scène do not just heighten the emotionality of an element of the action; to some extent they substitute for it. 25

The schema which Nowell-Smith uses, borrowed from Freud's writings on hysteria, is evidently adaptable to the case of Chandler's hardboiled melodrama. There it is Marlowe's private, ethical code which drives the process of repression, while it is into his overblown gestures of violence and sentimentality that excess is displaced. If, in the case of The Big Sleep, the savage tearing-up of the bed, or the brutality of Marlowe's homophobic attack on Carol Lundgren, represent clear instances of sexual impulses displaced into the realm of violence, then in The Long Goodbye this economy transforms its outlets into excessively sentimental acts of remembrance. When Chandler first submitted his manuscript for The Long Goodbye, Bernice Baumgarten objected to its overt sentimentalism, requiring Chandler to revise it (SL 317). 26 Even in the published version, however, Marlowe's return to Victor's bar, and more particularly his ritual of cigarette and coffee, prepared in memory of Terry Lennox's last moments with him, bleed into burlesque and kitsch. This was always Chandler's intention. Returning to the 1949 letter in which he expressed his frustration at American readers unable to "see the strong element of burlesque in my kind of writing," we find that he threatened to write an article about melodrama in order to educate them. Although this plan was never realized, the letter does offer an overview of his understanding of the concept, including the idea of "an exaggeration of violence and fear beyond what one normally experiences in life" as well as a kind of superficial realism in which "the potential of emotion is overcharged" (SL 150). Chandler's late works, in which sentimentalism replaces violence as the outlet for his melodramatic system, are therefore intentionally excessive, albeit in a manner less amenable to the orthodoxies of both hardboiled narrative and high culture more broadly.

In The Long Goodbye, then, Chandler's melodramatic sentimentalism is closely bound up with Marlowe's mourning of Terry Lennox, and thus with the nineteenth-century English ideal he represented. His 1949 letter also associated melodrama with transatlantic difference, in its particular criticism of American readers, combined with the way his remarks are precipitated by his reflections on Charles Dickens, whom he clearly understood as a melodramatic writer with "the ability to put over situations which verged on the implausible but which in the reading seemed quite real" (SL 6). My argument that Chandler's melodramatic imagination emerges as a function of his transatlanticism, however, must move beyond these associative links to consider deeper, structural analogies between his model of Englishness after World War II and the melodramatic mode. Our way into this problem can be neatly introduced through George Orwell's essay, "Decline of the English Murder," published in the London periodical Tribune in 1946. In this piece, Orwell laments the passing of "our great period of murder, our Elizabethan period, so to speak" between the years of 1850 and 1925, and bemoans the unsatisfying, "pitiful and sordid" English murders reported in the postwar press. 27

Orwell sees the murders of the "great period" as notable for their fundamentally melodramatic character (indeed he notes that one was successfully adapted into a theatrical melodrama and that several others formed the basis for popular novels). He observes the innate theatricality of the classic English murder, the eruption of

some dramatic coincidence, in which the finger of Providence could be clearly seen, or one of those episodes that no novelist would dare to make up, such as Crippen's flight across the Atlantic with his mistress dressed as a boy, or Joseph Smith playing "Nearer, my God, to Thee" on the harmonium while one of his wives was drowning in the next room. 28

Such instances are melodramatic in several senses. Firstly, they offer illustrations of Nowell-Smith's formulation by which melodrama emerges through the displacement of excess emotional or libidinal energies into mise en scène or music. Secondly, however, they also resonate with the influential theory proposed by Peter Brooks, who argues that the function of melodrama's historical development has been to extrapolate between document and vision, "using the things and gestures of the real world, of social life, as kinds of metaphors which refer us to the realm of spirituality and moral meanings." 29 Following this logic, the preponderance of improbable co-incidences in popular melodrama, indicating the organising influence of supernatural fate or "Providence," provide a narrative compensation for the "desacrilization of the social" in the era of modernity. 30

In the senses of both of these theoretical formulations, Orwell's good, old-fashioned melodramatic murders are conditioned by their English settings. In order for Nowell-Smith's economy of excess to function effectively, it requires some form of repression to be exerted upon the narrative, so that an impasse can be created which then necessitates displacement. In the case of "Decline of the English Murder," Orwell makes clear that the defining characteristic of the best murders is their situation amid the strictures of Victorian morality and its attendant codes of class and sexuality. Aspirations to rise within the class hierarchy, illicit desire, and adultery within the domestic sphere are recurring motifs which feature across the range of murders he mentions. Indeed the "perfect murder" he outlines is one committed by a middle-class man driven to kill in order to preserve the appearance of his honour and respectability, murder appearing to him "less disgraceful, and less damaging in his career, than being detected in adultery." 31 Here, the murder itself becomes the means by which excess is siphoned off from the containing structures enforced by English bourgeois morality. We can also observe , however, that the conflict set up between English codes of behaviour and libidinal impulses is the means by which melodrama is able to reveal and reinforce, as in Brooks' formulation, a concealed or submerged "essential moral universe" in which transgressions of class or sexuality are referred reassuringly to an apparently natural law which dispenses justice accordingly. 32

Orwell's essay is itself given shape by the distinction he introduces between the "great period" of English murder and the postwar era, in which the classically melodramatic murder is replaced by a debased Americanized version epitomized by the "Cleft Chin Murder" of 1944. In this case, several apparently random murders were committed by Karl Hulten, an American GI who had deserted from his post in England, along with his English girlfriend. Orwell writes,

... there was no depth of feeling in it. It was almost by chance that these two people committed that particular murder . . . The background was not domesticity, but the anonymous life of the dance-halls and the false values of the American film . . . Perhaps it is significant that the most talked-of English murder of recent years should have been committed by an American and an English girl who had been partly Americanized. But it is difficult to believe that this case will be so long remembered as the old domestic poisoning dramas, product of a society where the all-pervading hypocrisy did at least ensure that crimes as serious as murder should have strong emotions behind them. 33

Reading this conclusion to the essay it becomes apparent how much Orwell's transatlantic distinctions correlate with Chandler's own engagement with Englishness and melodrama in his postwar work. In contrast to the "finger of Providence" which guides the events of the classic English murder, the Americanized murder is a matter of pure contingency, having lost its legitimating foundations in the sacrified sphere of Victorian morality, and been inspired by the ethical vacuum created by the American culture industry. The fear of the young, motiveless killer pervades Chandler's late work, from Alfred, the psychotic heroin addict in The Little Sister to Earl, the deranged patient of Dr Verringer in The Long Goodbye. It is significant, though, that Chandler reverts to English melodrama of the type Orwell would have endorsed for the main plot of both The Long Goodbye and "English Summer," where adulterous desire and revenge against the backdrop of refined English manners provide the engine for the mystery. In terms of the murder plot in The Long Goodbye, Marlowe can be read as an agent not of Californian law but of a distinctively Victorian "moral universe." Eileen Wade, once Marlowe has exposed her culpability over cups of tea in her mansion, has the good sense to commit suicide in deference to this nebulous authority, thus preserving one of its most important edicts as Chandler understands it - that women should never be subject to the indignities of public, state-authorized justice. It should once again be emphasized that, from this perspective, her chief transgression, like that of Terry Lennox (and indeed Karl Hulten) is her complicity in exploiting the circumstances of World War II in order to fashion a false English identity.

Once we begin to read Chandler's melodrama in this way, as structured by his threatened sense of authentic Englishness, it also becomes apparent that Marlowe's seemingly inscrutable moral code is thrown into relief by the same crisis of national ideals. When Terry Lennox's betrayals are finally uncovered, the Victorian morality to which both Marlowe and, implicitly, the novel itself have appealed is revealed to be an empty and arbitrary fabrication, constructed purely of English manners. We are returned to the odd accusation he levels at Terry: "You had standards and you lived up to them, but they were personal. They had no relation to any kind of ethics or scruples" (733). The distinction refers then to the difference between a shared "moral universe" and a socially determined and therefore illegitimate set of gestures. This is an important moment for our analysis because here Marlowe's ethics are ostensibly uncoupled from his worldly sense of Englishness and retreat towards what Brooks describes as "the moral occult," a set of absolute values which "may be so inward and personal that it appears restricted to the individual's consciousness, predicated on the individual's 'sacrifice to the ideal.'" 34 Brooks' model relates to the fiction of another transatlantic figure, Henry James, in whose work, he argues, the "external melodrama has been used to lead into the melodrama of ethical choice." 35 It is a similar transition that we observe in Chandler's late work, where Marlowe's various renunciations and sacrifices appear as increasingly Pyrrhic impulses towards a kind of martyrdom (indeed Marlowe's "christlike" tendencies was one of the problems Bernice Baumgarten identified with the first draft of The Long Goodbye [SL 317]).

"Why are you doing it, Marlowe?" asks Terry Lennox, as the detective prepares to drive him to Tijuana in order for him to escape arrest (443). He receives no response. This is the question which Chandler's postwar work asks of its readers with increasing urgency. The very impenetrability of Marlowe's ethical code is a reflection of the way Chandler distanced himself from the visible claims of English late-imperial values, while at the same time continuing to internalize their underlying principles as universal "ethics or scruples," a version of the moral occult. As we will see, in "English Summer," the contradictions of this structure are more clearly developed, evident in the narrator's strange decision to risk his own freedom in order to protect Millicent from investigation for the murder of her husband, at the same time as acknowledging her complete ethical bankruptcy as an Englishwoman. In both works, the disseverance of ethics from its English moorings leaves the hero, as James put it in his preface to The American, with "just the moral convenience, indeed the moral necessity, of his practical, but quite unappreciated, magnanimity." 36 Chandler's moral occult, like James's, becomes premised, then, on the treacherous dissimulation of evil intent under layers of refined manners; a threat which entails a particularly Gothic encounter with misrecognized Englishness and an experience of the transatlantic uncanny.

"English Summer" and World War II

Turning to "English Summer: A Gothic Romance," we now face the critical challenge of historicizing Chandler's perverse untimeliness, registered not only in his marked interest in belated models of Englishness, but also in his formal and generic choices. This odd story, published only after his death, exaggerates the dominant themes and features of The Long Goodbye, driving the novel's concern with English betrayals even further into kitschy burlesque. "A short, swift, tense, gorgeously written story verging on melodrama," was how he described it in a 1939 writing plan, when it was originally conceived. 37 However, the project was apparently shelved until 1957, when, following the death of his wife and several trips to London, Chandler wrote that he was considering an English novel, "as a writer at home with the nuances of British English and yet ambitious to make it come a little more alive." 38 Chandler rediscovered the original "English Summer" and worked it up to a length of around 8,500 words before discarding it again.

Following Frank MacShane's judgment that "it doesn't hold up as literature," the story has been generally ignored by critics and scholars. 39 This is in itself an interesting reflection of the ways Chandler has been canonized as a native hardboiled writer, for not only does the story explicitly resituate him as a transatlantic figure, but it also revels in precisely the stylistic and generic excesses which have been suppressed by those who have made the case for his literary seriousness based on his relation to the criteria of gritty realism, restraint and control. 40 In this sense, the effect of "English Summer" is that of a distorted mirror held up to the Marlowe stories, which many Chandlerians would wish not to acknowledge, reflecting as it does the incongruous elements that were always present there - the vampiric femmes fatales and imposing mansions inspired by the fin de siècle Gothic romance, the chivalric conduct of the conquering hero which derives not so much from Mallory as from the English nineteenth-century medieval revival, and the latent sentimentalism which, as we have seen, emerged in The Long Goodbye. In the 1939 writing plan which first mentions "English Summer," Chandler described the projected novel, The Brashear Doubloon (which was later renamed The High Window) as "a burlesque on the pulp novelette, with Walter and Henry." 41 Curiously, though, this particular idea seems to have fed into "English Summer," in which Walter Scott's historical romances and Henry James' transatlantic encounters are blended with the formal and thematic components of the hardboiled crime narrative. In fact, the plotting at the heart of this story of an American man seduced by two English women reconfigures in comic mode the transatlantic exchanges which had always operated in hardboiled Los Angeles. In other words, "English Summer" reveals Chandler not just as a parodist, but as a retrospective self-parodist, conscious of the ways in which his outmoded Englishness had pervaded his most American writing.

Despite its primarily rural English setting, to which the American narrator has been invited to stay with English friends in their summer cottage, we are never far from the distinctive tones of Chandler's hardboiled style. For much of the story these remain subdued but nevertheless discernible in sentences like this description of the cottage, which echoes Chandler's earliest exercises in imitation of Hemingway: "there was a walk and a hedge and a fence and a gate. That was outside. I liked all of that. Inside I hated one thing, the stairs" (89). More striking than such resonances with his American writing, however, is the abrupt transition that occurs at the midpoint of the narrative, when the narrator first views the body of Edward Crandall sprawled across a bed, apparently drunk but in fact dead. This is the moment which self-consciously triggers Chandler's overt dropping of the romantic pastoral in favour of a resumption of the classic hardboiled mode. Millicent notices the stylistic shift herself, asking John "aren't you being just a little strange?" and the reply tells us that it is entirely intentional on Chandler's part: "'It's the American gutturals creeping out,' I said, 'after a long hibernation'" (102). From this point on, John's utterances, and especially "the hell of it" / "the hell with it" are barely distinguishable from Marlowe's, while his unexplained technical expertise in dealing with the concealing of forensic evidence is comically out of place in the setting. By the time he begins to dictate the necessary course of action to Millicent, the deferential lover of the early part of the story has been replaced by the American tough guy, and John can say "there was no gentle English grayness in me now" (106). In this way, "English Summer" shamelessly displays the seams more delicately stitched together in the Marlowe novels, where various stylistic and generic manners deriving from the British fin de siècle were assimilated into the hardboiled conventions established by Hammett and Black Mask. Here, though, the transatlantic dialectic is reversed too, thus throwing it into unfamiliar relief. While the Marlowe novels drew upon the unexpected presence of chivalric honour codes in contemporary Los Angeles, in "English Summer" it is the odd flourishing of alien, hardboiled rhythms and motifs in pastoral England which arrest the attention and create a comic effect.

In a superficial sense, the England presented in the story is extravagantly dehistoricized, residing in a pointedly mythical pastoralism which is consistently deflated and subjected to irony. The Crandalls' rented house is

one of those old, old, cottages in the country which are supposed to be picturesque, which the English go to for weekends or for a month in the summer in a year when they can't afford the high Alps or Venice or Sicily or Greece or the Riviera, a year when they don't want to see their infernal gray ocean. (89)

Similarly, the cottage itself is necessarily secluded, with a "firm, ancient lawn, and rustic chairs for tea, if it was warm enough for tea outdoors. It never was while I was there." Such moments indicate that this timeless England is, in fact, quite specifically that constructed by, and reflected in, various fin-de-siècle and early-twentieth-century writers with whom we know Chandler was thoroughly acquainted, whether that be Henry James, or indeed the creators of the Golden Age English detective stories he had criticized in "The Simple Art of Murder." 42 In parallel to the staged removal of historical time, Chandler also foregrounds the slowing and disorientation of clock time, describing, for example, "the almost infinite hour of tea," and the sprawling, English summer afternoons "which last, like the English themselves, forever" (100). I want to linger on this last phrase in particular, since it refers us to the linkage between those two temporal strata, the sense in which the drinking of tea on ancient lawns is ideologically underpinned by the myth of endless historical transcendence associated with the late imperialism of the British Empire and popularly disseminated in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century popular jingoism.  John teases Millicent, "waiting for tea - as if it were a revolution," and she replies with incomprehension: "Revolution? What in the world does that mean?" (91). The story portrays a historically invulnerable England at a timethe 1950swhen that myth lay already in tatters.

Such concerns direct us back to the importance of World War II for Chandler's transatlantic exchanges. He had returned to London in 1953, and was given a tour of the bombed-out ruins of the East End, a moment which would have indicated to him the very material traumas that English civilians had faced during the war. In The Long Goodbye, we learn of how Eileen Wade is affected by "the strain of wartime life in England under bombing," after she describes how she constructed an alternative narrative of her life, "even a false one," in order to evade the memories of her friends killed in the Blitz (686, 669). On this level, it is clear that the timeless, rural idyll portrayed in "English Summer," surrounded as it is by "unnecessary walls," functions much as Idle Valley does in the California of The Long Goodbye, as a location engaged in a futile effort to seal off the effects of destructive historical forces. As in the Edwardian novels of E.M. Forster, who was one of the leading figures of the London literary scene at the time Chandler aspired to play a part in it, English pastoralism is offset in the story by the journey into London, which the narrator undertakes to escape the police. It is here, in Bloomsbury, that the after-effects of the war are encoded into Chandler's brief evocation of an urban nightmare:

If you came home late at night, the white-faced specters of Russell Square haunted you, creeping along where the iron railings had been, as though the mere memory of them brought some shelter from the policeman's lantern. They haunted you all night with the ache of their "Listen, dearies," with the remembrance of their pinched lips, gnawed thin from within, their large hollow eyes in which a world was already dead. (110)

In this typically Gothic, uncanny episode the England that Chandler had claimed familiarity with all his life returns to him in the form of a supernatural terror which even the narrator's  hardboiled American persona cannot repress. World War II is the event hovering behind the emergence of these zombie-like figures, for the iron railings were removed from Russell Square in order to be melted down for use in munitions. They have become symbols of the genteel London which had somehow died between Chandler's leaving it after World War I and his return in the 1950s.

In The Long Goodbye, Marlowe tells Lennox, "you're a moral defeatist. I think maybe the war did it, and again I think maybe you were born that way" (733). The possibility that the experience of World War II itself is implicated in the hollowing out of English moral identity is also expressed in "English Summer," where Millicent Crandall's "utterly dead voice" reminds the narrator of

... the leave trains in Victoria during the war, the careless English women on the platform by the first-class carriages, saying those unimportant things, so easily, to the faces they would never see again. So careless, so smooth, so utterly dead inside. (101)

This is one of the moments in "English Summer" where the Gothic burlesque takes on a darker, nihilist aspect, as Chandler's style reverts to the cyclical reiterations of emptiness that are such a marked feature of his other postwar works, The Little Sister and The Long Goodbye. As in the passage describing the specters of Russell Square, Chandler seems also to be experimenting with an emergent pulp genre - that of the zombie narrative -  in which the undead are found to inhabit the most respectable of guises. A more specific allusion to Britain's involvement in World War II is made at the end of the story, as the narrator leaves Lady Lakenham at the center of British genteel culture, Piccadilly, by Green Park: "They moved around me politely, those English, as though I was a monument, or a Chinese sage, or a life-sized doll in Dresden china" (113).  The choice of Dresden china for the final simile has powerful implications in the aftermath of the war, given the devastating Allied bombing raids which killed approximately 25,000 people in the city in February 1945 and was widely regarded as an international war crime. Chandler, as we know from his correspondence, was one of those disgusted by the decision to bomb German cities: "when it was used for saturation raids on cities like Hamburg, Berlin and Leipzig, it was militarily of small consequence and morally put us right beside the man who ran Belsen and Dachau" (SL 32). 43

Such observations add freight to the description which Terry Lennox offers of Harlan Potter: "all Victorian dignity on the outside. Inside he's as ruthless as a Gestapo thug" (436). As early as the summer of 1940, Chandler was under no illusions as to the moral equivalence of Hitler's Germany and Churchill's Britain regarding bombing policy:

As for bombing, it will be bad, but it will work both ways. If Hitler uses gas it will be used on Germany. If he bombs London, Berlin will be bombed. And the British night bombers are better than the Germans, because the British have made a speciality of night bombing for twenty-five years. 44

It was the threat of moral equivalence between opposing participants in a violent conflict which had defined hardboiled fiction from its very beginnings in Hammett's work, where the Continental Op's fear that he might go "blood-simple like the natives," puts into play the possibility that even the heroic detective himself might become ethically indistinguishable in the melée. 45 My argument has been that Chandler's sense of English cultural superiority played a crucial role in informing the moral occult of his melodramatic fiction, and thus provided a kind of absolute to which the breakdown of public values in the United States could be referred. With his loss of faith in the ethical claims of English national identity during World War II, the notion of transatlantic difference which had provided a generating impulse for his fiction lost traction. The result of this, as evidenced in The Long Goodbye and "English Summer," is that the idea of a hardboiled social landscape disperses across the Atlantic, and England itself becomes disorientatingly hardboiled. In these narratives we witness the unravelling of the genre's apparent American exceptionalism, in ways that lay bare Chandler's cultural roots in British late imperialism.

Late Imperialism and the Historical Resonance of Genre

"They had been foxed and they knew it," the narrator of "English Summer" observes of the policemen who pursue him, "and as the English always do, they lost as if they were winning" (111). World War II may have provided the occasion for the hollowing out of Chandler's English ideals, but it is necessary to think about the war in the wider context of imperial decline, the way in which, as Marina MacKay has put it, the war was for English "both a win and a winding up." 46 If, in the years leading up to the war, Britain had already partially committed to the gradual relinquishment of its imperial possessions, then the devastating costs of the conflict, along with Britain's evident inability to protect its colonies in the East, made the dismantling of Empire in the postwar both urgent and necessary. Under a pro-decolonization government, Britain withdrew from India in 1947 and Palestine in 1948. Its newly emasculated global status was then most publically displayed by the humiliating withdrawal from Suez in 1956. 47 As Chandler wrote in a 1957 letter to the editor of the London Daily Express, "for 100 years, as you may remember, England dominated the world and was rather cordially detested by everyone else." After the war, however, the United States "were just stuck in Number One slot." 48

This "unmapping" of the world in the postwar period is the background against which Chandler chose to return to the genre of the Gothic romance in "English Summer." 49 If the story had been completed in the late 1930s, when it was originally conceived, we can surmise that it may have resembled something like the "spiritual shockers" published earlier in the decade by Charles Williams, such as War in Heaven (1930) and Shadows of Ecstasy (1931). In Jed Esty's account, these innovative trans-generic novels, combining elements of the detective story and the imperial adventure with an English pastoral setting, formed part of a revival of the domestic romance in the years leading up to World War II, an attempt at a "re-enchantment of England itself" in which the concerns of popular forms shifted away from the colonial periphery and back towards an essential Englishness located in the rural heartlands. 50 The "English Summer" which Chandler revised in the late 1950s, however, presents quite precisely the disenchantment of the English idyll, even as it conjures with the same supernatural motifs.

In fact, the story's generic codes echo and invert those of the Gothic revival during the fin de siècle, and therefore Chandler's cultural adolescence. As scholars such as Patrick Brantlinger and Cannon Schmitt have argued, the late-Victorian Gothic revival, as exemplified by writers such as Bram Stoker and H. Rider Haggard, developed in response to anxieties about the validity and sincerity behind Britain's imperial ideologies and, in particular, its proclaimed civilizing mission. 51 The genre which Brantlinger identifies as "imperial Gothic" typically represents an encounter between the colonizer and the colonized, in which the values of Empire are upheld through the projection of their opposites onto an atavistic other, often portrayed, as for example in Rider Haggard's She, as a seductive yet dangerous female, the archetypal femme fatale. In Brantlinger's formulation, the fears underlying Britain's imperial project are expressed through the recurring tropes of invasion or reverse colonization, personal regression or "going native," and the loss of opportunity for heroism and adventure in the colonies. 52 Schmitt builds on these arguments to suggest how, in nineteenth-century Gothic fictions, the "threat of invasion from without produces Englishness from within." 53 Feminine domesticity is located as the site at which English imperial ideologies are most invested and, therefore, most in danger of displacement by alterity.

In the early essays dating from his London career, Chandler showed affinities with the great writers of the imperial Gothic romance, rehearsing, for example, Rider Haggard's anxiety over whether "romance writers of future generations [will] find a safe and secret place, unknown to the pestilent accuracy of the geographer, in which to lay their plots." 54 His 1912 essay "The Tropical Romance" describes how "cold bands of Northern realists" had invaded the "sacred domain" of "the tangled mysterious bazaars of the Orient" and the classic stages of colonial adventure. 55 "English Summer," however, performs a strategic reversal of these standard fin-de-siècle imperial Gothic motifs, substituting a hardboiled American for British colonials, and an overrefined English upper-middle-class woman for the savage female. In this revised structure, the colonizer has been denuded of his previously dominant role, and Millicent comes instead to resemble the classic paradigm of the unstable primitive "other," oscillating between child-like innocence and murderous desire. As Joseph Conrad implies in the most canonical of imperial Gothic narratives, the heart of darkness is to be found not in Africa but at the center of colonial power itself, and indeed within its most unassuming environments, whether in the parlour of Kurtz's "intended," or, as here, in the cozy pastoralism of a holiday cottage. This is not so much a case of domestic femininity being displaced by an orientalist other, as for example in the orthodox reading of Stoker's Dracula, as of that symbolic core of imperial identity being exposed as utterly devoid of content. Perhaps the most striking divergence from conventional imperial Gothic motifs, however, is the temporal inversion which has Millicent, as femme fatale, represent not the evolutionary regression into savagery, but an excess of civilization which nevertheless leads to violence and cruelty. This was always part of Chandler's intentions for the transatlantic dimension of the story: his plan, which clearly signals his indebtedness to James, declares the "dramatic theme" to be "the decay of the refined character in contrast to the utterly fearless and generous American of the best type." 56

Nicholas Daly has pointed out the irony of imperial anxiety at the fin de siècle, that, even if the ideological basis for Empire was under interrogation by figures such as J. A. Hobson, the period actually saw a dramatic expansion of Britain's colonial dominion. 57 Indeed, as historians P.J. Cain and A.G. Hopkins argue, intensifying protests against empire up to 1914 "were symptoms less of the erosion of Britain's 'hegemonic status' than of the continuing extension of her global influence." 58 We can be sure that the full force of British imperial power was impressed upon the pupils of Dulwich College during Chandler's time there, and that, when he left the country in 1912, the security of the Empire remained relatively undiminished. When he came to revise "English Summer" for publication in the mid-1950s, however, Britain's decline was in clear evidence. In other words, Chandler's decision to return to his "Gothic Romance" in this period, and to narrate the decline of a particular ideal of English civilization, indicates his own understanding of the historical resonances of genre. The story recognizes the reconfigured power relations between Britain and the United States during the Cold War, in which the latter emerges as the dominant colonial power, and its representative as the new interpreter of civilization. In his notebooks, Chandler had observed that "since political power still dominates culture, American will dominate English for some time to come," and in 1958 declared that "America has become an empire. Its money and influence penetrate everywhere outside the Iron Curtain." 59 Indeed, The Long Goodbye had already transposed elements of the British colonial adventure story to the Americas, as part of what John A. McClure has identified as the Americanization of the British imperial romance in the postwar. 60 In that case, Chandler figured Mexico as the United States' imperial dominion and Terry Lennox's Mexican disguise as a variation on the trope of "going native." The American narrator of "English Summer," in taking control of the murder scene and ensuring that Millicent is not punished for the murder of her husband, ensures that the chivalric moral code is finally disengaged from its English origins and assimilated into hardboiled American individualism. The problem, as the story's conclusion shows us, is that it is utterly without relation to or orientation within any recognisable ethical system, revolving alone in its own reiterative and self-referential circuits: "I stood there for what seemed like a long, long time, looking after nothing. There was nothing to look after" (113).

Having examined the historical resonance of Chandler's generic codes, we are now in a position to reflect back more directly upon the relationship between the crisis in humanism which pervades his late writing and the decline of the British Empire. In his book on modernism and English national culture, Jed Esty writes of how "imperialism, exploding and exporting Englishness, defines Englishness in terms of its metacultural or universalist capacity to absorb and transcend the local and thus set the conditions for an abiding high humanism." 61 The universalising moral claims of British imperialism were what made it possible for an English public-school boy to refashion himself as a Californian hardboiled writer, and one way of understanding the increasingly fraught and isolated moral vision which functions as the heart of his melodrama is to link it to the global overturning of those claims, debunked by decolonization and Britain's impoverished international reputation in the years after World War II. Esty quotes Jean-Paul Sartre's preface to Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth, explaining how

... in the notion of the human race we found an abstract assumption of universality which served as a cover for the most realistic practices. On the other side of the ocean there was a race of less-than-humans who, thanks to us, might reach our status a thousand years hence. 62

Chandler, we should remember, admitted his "contempt for the natives" in Los Angeles in 1950, and it is possible, as Stanley Orr has demonstrated, to read novels such as The Big Sleep through the lens of the "tropical romance," with Marlowe functioning as a kind of colonial administrator charged with the maintenance of imperial order. 63 Yet what we see in "English Summer" is an aggressive dismantling of imperial humanism, whereby moral authority is traced back from the colonies to a hollow and malevolent center.

It is this absolute emptiness which transforms the melodramatic mode which Chandler deployed in the Marlowe tales into a radical Gothicism which, by the end of the story, denies the comforts even of an authentic moral occult. As Peter Brooks has noted, the Gothic and the melodramatic are closely related, both having developed out of the need to compensate for the desacrilization of the social. 64 While one of the most common features of the classic melodrama, however, is the misrecognition of innocence as guilt, "English Summer" offers the opposite, as Millicent's chaste virtues are revealed to be a superficial veil for her callousness and voracious sexual appetite. If, as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick claims, the Gothic convention's defining characteristic is the self "massively blocked off from something to which it ought normally have access," then the entity which the narrator is denied access to is a stable and essential Englishness, the referent for his own moral compass. 65 Instead, following Sedgwick's account, he is presented with "parallel representations at a distance from the original, subject to more or less frightening distortions." 66 Even at the story's climax at the very heart of the nation's establishment, the aristocratic Lady Lakenham smells not of English roses but of the narrator's own American environment, "as if a desert wind brought it a thousand miles to me" (112). The homecoming promised by Chandler's "English" story presages only a kind of disorientating transatlantic homesickness, its American narrator marooned among the faceless London crowds, shuttling between desire and revulsion.

Chandler and Eliot: Transatlantic Homecomings

Chandler and T.S. Eliot seem an unlikely pairing, as the leading figures of Anglo-American high modernism and hardboiled fiction respectively. I would like to conclude this essay, however, by sketching some of the consequences of reading Chandler as I have been doing, as another transatlantic writer deeply interested in the meanings of Englishness in the mid-twentieth century. The careers of Eliot and Chandler mirror each other in interesting ways. They were born in the same year of 1888 in the Midwest, and, while Chandler returned to the United States in 1912, Eliot made his own transatlantic migration in the opposite direction two years later. Despite occupying very different spaces in the cultural field, they nevertheless read and admired each other's work. 67 Both identified themselves with the English upper classes as an essential component of their own cultural superiority, and, to varying extents, invested in an Arnoldian sense of the English tradition's universal authority. 68 In the case of both Chandler's hardboiled writing and Eliot's experimental poetry, the apparently radical and subversive energies of their aesthetic practice were paradoxically generated through intense cultural nostalgia, which they were nevertheless able to objectify when the occasion required through emphasizing their foreignness. 69 This structure brings about oddly dissonant moments in their writing: the eruption of burlesque melodrama and Gothic romance through the hardboiled surface of Chandler's late writings might be compared to Eliot's own barely-disguised yearning for the universal appeal of Victorian genres in his essay on Dickens and Wilkie Collins: "those who have lived before such terms as 'high-brow fiction,' 'thrillers,' and 'detective fiction' were invented realize that melodrama is perennial and that the craving for it is perennial and must be satisfied." 70 David Chinitz has pointed out how the latter part of Eliot's career, in which he dedicated himself to popular dramatic genres such as the drawing-room comedy, have been purposefully neglected in studies of his modernism. 71 From a comparative point of view, however, this self-consciously anachronistic return to a genre which was "passé even before he took it up," along with, for example, his late apologies for the imperialist longings encoded in Kipling's work, provides a curious correlative to Chandler own late generic choices. 72

For both writers, the 1950s was the decade during which they were fully institutionalized, even if their most critically valued work was behind them. There is ample evidence that Eliot was much on Chandler's mind, especially in the allusions made to "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" in The Long Goodbye, where Harlan Potter's chauffeur, Amos, asks Marlowe the meaning of the line "I grow old . . . I grow old . . . I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled." "Not a bloody thing. It just sounds good," comes the response (715). While much has been made of this exchange, and of what it might tell us about Chandler's response to high modernism, what has been not been accounted for is his interest in rewriting Eliot's developing ideas of England as home. 73 In The Long Goodbye Chandler perversely reaches back to one of Eliot's earliest American poems for a model of highbrow elitism, despite the fact that in 1953 he was widely identified as a the most prominent cultural authority in the English establishment, following the landmark publication of Four Quartets in 1945. However, in "English Summer" Chandler consciously engages with the latter poem's meditations on English homeliness and transatlantic migration.

As is well known, Four Quartets is structured according to a pattern which interweaves autobiographical and historical narratives of belonging and displacement.  The poem's four parts move from Burnt Norton, an English country house that Eliot visited in 1935, to East Coker, the Somerset village from which his ancestors migrated to America in the seventeenth century, then to the Dry Salvages, a group of rocks of the coast of Massachusetts where the poet vacationed as a boy, before returning to the English countryside in Little Gidding, named for the village where Nicholas Ferrar established an Anglican community in the years immediately before the English Civil War. In tracing this pattern of transatlantic exchange, Eliot decisively positions England, and especially its agrarian culture, as what Simon Gikandi, in another context, calls the oikos, or "the place of return and the depository of domestic ideals." 74 In Notes Towards a Definition of Culture, Eliot went on to declare that "it would appear to be for the best that the great majority of human beings should go on living in the place in which they were born," and indeed Four Quartets presents Eliot's migration, despite his birth in the United States, as a form of homecoming which returns his family, after four centuries, to its own natural place in the Anglican Church and English rural communities. 75 Famously, Eliot finds that, in Little Gidding, "history is now, and England." 76 The circumstances in which this last part of Four Quartets was first composed, in 1941, at a time when the eventual outcome of World War II was far from evident, places additional freight upon the poem's domestic themes. Little Gidding's images of fire and destruction, as many critics have noted, superimpose the imagery of the Pentecost over that of the Blitz, and thereby sanctify the oxymoronic dimensions of the phrase "home front," as aerial bombardment was for the first time experienced in the vulnerable heart of the nation.   The geographic organization of Four Quartets, echoing its repeated conflations of beginnings and endings, makes of the United States a peripheral and at times primitive figure with which to reflect the poem's homing impulses centripetally back to the English center, where the promise of salvation, as well as the threat of damnation, is staked.

The contrast between Eliot's response to the idea of England during World War II and the extreme skepticism of English homeliness we have seen evidenced in Chandler's late work should already be apparent. In "English Summer," however, Chandler includes a specific response to Eliot's poem. John is eventually found by the bumbling British police in the village of Chagford, where John Endecott, one of the Pilgrim Fathers and a governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony, lived before his departure for the Americas (Chandler had also given the name "Endicott" to a character in The Long Goodbye). Unlike East Coker in Four Quartets, Chagford receives little attention beyond the gray mists hanging over Dartmoor, and yet its parallel function in balancing the transatlantic migrations of the early Puritans against the contemporary return of the American to England tells us that part of Chandler's intention in revising his story in the 1950s was to provide a burlesque parody of Eliot's deeply serious poem. After all, the ritual we discover in Chagford is not the solemn dancing of a marriage ceremony as in East Coker, but that of taking tea with a Cornish constable whose "face expressed nothing but the bitter wind on the moor" (111).

In fact, the oppressive imagery of English emptiness which dominates "English Summer" is present also in East Coker, for example in the description of the London underground train where "you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen / Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about" (200). Likewise, the reiterative style that Chandler adopts in his late work is foreshadowed by Eliot's claustrophobic cycles ("You say I am repeating / Something I have said before. I shall say it again. / Shall I say it again?" [201]). The key distinction between them is that while the hypnotic forms of Eliot's mystical poem work to conjure an English presence out of the "still point" at its center, Chandler's Gothic romance gives us nothing but specters from its mythological past. The final meeting with Lady Lakenham on Piccadilly rewrites the haunting chance encounter of Little Gidding's second part, in which the poet walks the city streets with a "familiar compound ghost" in a "dead patrol" (217). Whereas Eliot's stranger offers him a discussion of age and experience, however, Chandler's aristocrat promises only deferred adulterous pleasure before leaving him blank among the dead leaves.

If The Long Goodbye and "English Summer" testify to Chandler's eventual hollowing out of English culture from a position of transatlantic estrangement, Eliot, by contrast, replenished its ideological content by reinstating religion at the heart of national culture even as the state's imperial power dwindled. In the light of such comparisons, Chandler appears as Eliot's uncanny double, exposing their common affiliations while draining their ideological investments. In 1944, Adorno and Horkheimer declared in their Dialectic of Enlightenment that "light art has been the shadow of autonomous art. It is the social bad conscience of serious art . . . The division itself is the truth." 77 Chandler's fiction, so long consigned to the inflexible category of the U.S. pulp tradition, assumes in its English engagements a newly defined, dialectical role in the cultural field, as the bad conscience of Anglo-American modernism. Untimely, melodramatic and kitschy, it threatens to overturn some of modernism's own self-defining tenets, while simultaneously epitomising the transnational dislocations which have always been integral to its mythologies. Chandler's hardboiled England is the final and most dramatic of his perversions, a radically pessimistic creation which demands a return to twentieth-century American literary history, focused through the lens of English decline.

Will Norman is a lecturer in American literature at the University of Kent, UK. His first book, Nabokov, History and the Texture of Time, will be published by Routledge in 2012. He is now working on the encounter between European exiles and American mass culture in the mid-twentieth century.

Works Cited

Ackroyd, Peter. T.S. Eliot: A Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984.

Adorno, Theodor W. and Max Horkheimer. Dialectic of Enlightenment. Translated by John Cumming. London: Verso, 1997.

Auden, W.H. "The Guilty Vicarage." In Detective Fiction: A Collection of Critical Essays. Edited by R.W. Winks, 15-24. Woodstock, VT: Countryman, 1988.

Barnett, Correlli. The Collapse of British Power. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1986.

Baucom, Ian. Englishness, Empire and the Locations of Identity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Biddle, Tami Davis. "Wartime Reactions." In Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945. Edited by Paul Addison and Jeremy A. Crang, 96-122. London: Pimlico, 2006.

Brantlinger, Patrick. Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism 1830-1914. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990.

Brooks, Peter. The Melodramatic Imagination: Balzac, Henry James, Melodrama and the Mode of Excess. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.

Cain, P.J. and A.G. Hopkins, British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 1914-1990. London: Longman, 1993.

Casutto, Leonard. Hardboiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Stories. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.

Chandler, Raymond. Chandler Before Marlowe: Raymond Chandler's Early Prose and Poetry, 1908-1912. Edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli. Columbia: University of Southern Carolina Press, 1973.

--. Later Novels and Other Writings. Edited by Frank MacShane. New York: Library of America, 1995.

--. The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler and English Summer: A Gothic Romance. Edited by Frank MacShane. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1977.

--. The Raymond Chandler Papers: Selected Letters and Non-fiction 1909-1959. Edited by Tom Hiney and Frank MacShane. London: Hamish Hamilton, 2000.

--. Raymond Chandler Speaking. Edited by Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker. London: Penguin, 1988.

--. Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler. Edited by Frank MacShane. London: Jonathan Cape, 1995.

--. Stories and Early Novels. Edited by Frank MacShane. New York: Library of America, 1995.

Chinitz, David E. T.S. Eliot and the Cultural Divide. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Clark, Al. Raymond Chandler in Hollywood. London: Proteus, 1982.

Cucullu, Lois. "Downsizing the 'Great Divide.'" In Disciplining Modernism. Edited by Pamela Caughie, 167-181. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009.

Daly, Nicholas. Modernism, Romance and the Fin de Siècle: Popular Fiction and British Culture, 1880-1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Darwin, John. The End of the British Empire: The Historical Debate. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.

Earle, David M. Re-covering Modernism: Pulps, Paperbacks and the Prejudice of Form. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2009.

Eburne, Jonathan. "Chandler's Waste Land." Studies in the Novel 35.3 (2003): 366-382.

"England." Life Magazine 8.23 (June 3, 1940): 70-98.

Eliot, T.S. Collected Poems 1909-1962. London: Faber, 1974.

--. Notes Towards a Definition of Culture. London: Faber, 1949.

--. On Poetry and Poets. New York: Farrar Strauss and Cuhady, 1957.

--. Selected Essays. London: Faber, 1932.

Esty, Jed. A Shrinking Island: Modernism and National Culture in England. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Gledhill, Christine. "The Melodramatic Field: An Investigation." In Home is Where the Heart is: Studies in Melodrama and the Woman's Film. Edited by Christine Gledhill, 5-39. London: British FiIm Institute, 1987.

Gikandi, Simon. Maps of Englishness: Writing Identity in the Culture of Colonialism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.

Grimble, Simon. "Englishness." In T.S. Eliot in Context. Edited by Jason Harding, 43-51. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Hammett, Dashiell. Complete Novels. Edited by Steven Marcus. New York: Library of America, 1999.

Irwin, John T. Unless the Threat of Death is Behind Them: Hard-Boiled Fiction and Film Noir. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.

James, Henry. The Art of Fiction. Edited by  R.P. Blackmur. New York: Scribner, 1934.

Kennedy, Paul. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000. New York: Random House, 1987.

Longmate, Norman. The Bombers: The RAF Offensive Against Germany 1939-1945. London: Arrow, 1988.

MacKay, Marina. Modernism and World War II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

MacShane, Frank. The Life of Raymond Chandler. London: Jonathan Cape, 1976.

Marling, William. Raymond Chandler. Boston: Twayne, 1986.

McCann, Sean. Gumshoe America: Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Rise and Fall of New Deal Liberalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

McClure, John A. Late Imperial Romance. London: Verso, 1994.

McGurl, Mark. "Making 'Literature' Of It: Hammett and High Culture." American Literary History 9.4 (1997): 702-717.

Menand, Louis. Discovering Modernism: T.S. Eliot and his Context. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Mercer, John and Martin Shingler. Melodrama: Genre, Style, Sensibility. London: Wallflower, 2004.

Moretti, Franco. Signs Taken for Wonders: Essays on the Sociology of Literary Forms. Translated by D. Miller, David Forgacs and S. Fischer. London: Verso, 2005.

Mosley, Walter. "Hardboiled." In A New Literary History of America. Edited by Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors, 598-602. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey. "Minnelli and Melodrama." In Movies and Methods, Volume II. Edited by Bill Nichols, 190-94. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

Orr, Stanley. Darkly Perfect World: Colonial Adventure, Postmodernism and American Noir. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2010.

Orwell, George. Decline of the English Murder and Other Essays. Harmonsworth: Penguin, 1986.

Pepper, Andrew. "The Hardboiled Genre." In A Companion to Crime Fiction. Edited by Charles Rzepka and Lee Horsley, 140-51. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Rabinowitz, Paula. Black, White and Noir: America's Pulp Modernism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.

Rzepka, Charles. "'I'm in The Business Too': Gothic Chivalry, Private Eyes, and Proxy Sex and Violence in Chandler's The Big Sleep." Modern Fiction Studies 46.3 (2000): 695-724.

Schmitt, Cannon. Alien Nation: Nineteenth-Century Gothic Fictions and English Nationality. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997.

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. The Coherence of Gothic Conventions. New York: Arno Press, 1980.

Wolfe, Peter. Something More Than Night: The Case of Raymond Chandler. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1985.

  1. #1 Ian Baucom, Englishness, Empire and the Locations of Identity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), p. 175. []
  2. #2 Raymond Chandler, Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler, ed. Frank MacShane (London: Jonathan Cape, 1995), p. 15. Henceforth abbreviated as SL. Subsequent citations are from this edition and will be given parenthetically in the text. []
  3. #3 "England," Life Magazine, June 3, 1940, p. 78. []
  4. #4 Old school ties are of a different design to school ties, and are entitled to be worn only by former pupils after leaving their public school. []
  5. #5 Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye, in Later Novels and Other Writings, ed. Frank MacShane (New York: Library of America, 1995), p. 667. Subsequent citations are from this edition and will be given parenthetically in the text. []
  6. #6 Franco Moretti, Signs Taken for Wonders: Essays on the Sociology of Literary Forms, trans. D. Miller, David Forgacs and S. Fischer (London: Verso, 2005), p. 137. []
  7. #7 Recent examples of native genealogies for hardboiled fiction include Leonard Casutto, Hardboiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Stories (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), p. 4; Andrew Pepper, "The Hardboiled Genre," in A Companion to Crime Fiction, ed. Charles Rzepka and Lee Horsley (Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), p. 140. []
  8. #8 Raymond Chandler, "English Summer: A Gothic Romance," in The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler and English Summer: A Gothic Romance, ed. Frank MacShane (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1977), p. 110. Subsequent citations are from this edition and will be given parenthetically in the text. []
  9. #9 On Chandler's use of the Gothic and the romance, the notable exceptions are: Charles Rzepka, "'I'm in The Business Too': Gothic Chivalry, Private Eyes, and Proxy Sex and Violence in Chandler's The Big Sleep," Modern Fiction Studies 46.3 (2000): 695-724; Stanley Orr, Darkly Perfect World: Colonial Adventure, Postmodernism and American Noir (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2010), pp. 53-87. Both Rzepka and Orr focus on The Big Sleep and address neither "English Summer" nor Chandler's English affiliations. Monographs on Chandler by Peter Wolfe and William Marling contain biographical summaries of his English career and brief commentaries on "English Summer," but draw few conclusions about their influence over or relationship with his hardboiled fiction. See Peter Wolfe, Something More Than Night: The Case of Raymond Chandler (Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1985), pp. 6-10, and William Marling, Raymond Chandler (Boston: Twayne, 1986), pp. 1-20, 71-2. []
  10. #10 Marling, for example, concludes his study by placing Chandler alongside Hemingway and Faulkner as a writer who "advanced the technique of writing," arguing that his importance will only be realized once the "elevation of style, by writers themselves, to a position of supreme importance in twentieth-century American literature is generally recognized." See his Raymond Chandler, pp. 152-3. See also Wolfe's broadly representative anatomy of Chandler's style, using terms such as "spare," "chiselled," and "firm," in Something More Than Night, p. 66. On Hammett's hardboiled style and modernism, see Mark McGurl, "Making 'Literature' Of It: Hammett and High Culture," American Literary History 9.4 (1997): 702-717. []
  11. #11 See David M. Earle, Re-covering Modernism: Pulps, Paperbacks and the Prejudice of Form (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), and Paula Rabinowitz, Black, White and Noir: America's Pulp Modernism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002). []
  12. #12 Christine Gledhill, "The Melodramatic Field: An Investigation," in Home is Where the Heart Is: Studies in Melodrama and the Woman's Film, ed. Christine Gledhill (London: British FiIm Institute, 1987), p. 5. []
  13. #13 Frank MacShane, The Life of Raymond Chandler (London: Jonathan Cape, 1976), p. 21. []
  14. #14 Raymond Chandler, "Notes (very brief please) on English and American Style" in The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler and English Summer: A Gothic Romance (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1977), p. 22. []
  15. #15 Raymond Chandler, Raymond Chandler Speaking, ed. Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker (London: Penguin, 1988), 165. []
  16. #16 On Chandler's screenwriting career, see Al Clark, Raymond Chandler in Hollywood (London: Proteus, 1982). On his disillusionment with American mass culture in the postwar period, see Sean McCann, Gumshoe America: Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Rise and Fall of New Deal Liberalism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000), pp. 172-75. []
  17. #17 Raymond Chandler, "The Phrasemaker," in Chandler Before Marlowe: Raymond Chandler's Early Prose and Poetry, 1908-1912, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli (Columbia: University of Southern Carolina Press, 1973), p. 75. []
  18. #18 Chandler, "The Phrasemaker," p. 76. []
  19. #19 Chandler, "The Phrasemaker," p. 76. []
  20. #20 "Summer in Idle Valley" was perhaps too close to "English Summer," the work with which, as we will see, it shares these concerns. []
  21. #21 Chandler, Raymond Chandler Speaking, p. 171. []
  22. #22 Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep, in Stories and Early Novels, ed. Frank MacShane (New York: Library of America, 1995), p. 709. []
  23. #23 Peter Brooks, for example, describes melodrama as "a literary aesthetic of excess" in The Melodramatic Imagination: Balzac, Henry James, Melodrama and the Mode of Excess (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), p. 202. A survey of the varied usage of the term "melodrama" is provided by John Mercer and Martin Shingler, Melodrama: Genre, Style, Sensibility (London: Wallflower, 2004). []
  24. #24 Walter Mosley, "Hardboiled," in A New Literary History of America, ed. Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), p. 600. []
  25. #25 Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, "Minnelli and Melodrama" in Movies and Methods, Volume II, ed. Bill Nichols (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), p. 193. []
  26. #26 Casutto, Hardboiled Sentimentality, pp. 80-87, 100-102, offers one perspective on Chandler's sentimentalism. []
  27. #27 George Orwell, Decline of the English Murder and other Essays (Harmonsworth: Penguin, 1986), p. 10. []
  28. #28 Orwell, Decline of the English Murder, p. 11. []
  29. #29 Brooks, The Melodramatic Imagination, p. 9. []
  30. #30 Brooks, The Melodramatic Imagination, p. 17. []
  31. #31 Orwell, Decline of the English Murder, p. 11. []
  32. #32 Brooks, The Melodramatic Imagination, p. 15. []
  33. #33 Orwell, Decline of the English Murder, p. 13. []
  34. #34 Brooks, The Melodramatic Imagination, pp. 5-6. []
  35. #35 Brooks, The Melodramatic Imagination, p. 157. Henry James was a very significant figure for Chandler, who described himself a "desperately ardent admirer" of James (SL 155). He named The Wings of the Dove and "The Spoils of Poynton" in a list of works he considered "perfect" (SL 203-4). []
  36. #36 Henry James, preface to The American, in The Art of Fiction, ed. R. P. Blackmur (New York: Scribner, 1934), p. 22. []
  37. #37 Raymond Chandler, "The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler" in The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler and English Summer: A Gothic Romance, ed. Frank MacShane (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1977), p. 9. []
  38. #38 MacShane, The Life of Raymond Chandler, p. 249. []
  39. #39 MacShane, The Life of Raymond Chandler, p. 250. []
  40. #40 The archetype for this view of Chandler is W.H. Auden's assertion that Chandler wrote "not detective stories, but serious studies of a criminal milieu, the Great Wrong Place, and his powerful but extremely depressing hooks should be read and judged, not as escape literature, but as works of art." W.H. Auden, "The Guilty Vicarage," in Detective Fiction: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. R.W. Winks (Woodstock, VT: Countryman, 1988), p. 19. []
  41. #41 Chandler, "The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler," p. 8. []
  42. #42 Raymond Chandler, "The Simple Art of Murder," in Later Novels and Other Writings, ed. Frank MacShane (New York: Library of America, 1995), pp. 977-992. []
  43. #43 Although the bombing raids were undertaken jointly by Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Forces, Chandler seems to have understood Britain to have been responsible for them in a way that the U.S. was not. Britain was the principal instigator of the strategy, issuing the Area Bombing Directive in 1942 which stated that bombing should be focused on the morale of the enemy civilian population. Chandler may have been aware too of the public justifications for civilian-targeted bombing proposed by Air Marshall Arthur "Bomber" Harris, who declared not to believe "the destruction of every German city worth the bones of one British Grenadier." See Norman Longmate, The Bombers: The RAF Offensive Against Germany 1939-1945 (London: Arrow, 1988), p. 346. By contrast, American sensitivities to the ethical implications of strategic bombing were publically emphasized throughout the campaign. See Tami Davis Biddle, "Wartime Reactions," in Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945, ed. Paul Addison and Jeremy A. Crang (London: Pimlico, 2006), p. 102. []
  44. #44 Raymond Chandler, The Raymond Chandler Papers: Selected Letters and Non-fiction 1909-1959, ed. Tom Hiney and Frank MacShane (London: Hamish Hamilton, 2000), p. 27. []
  45. #45 Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest in Complete Novels, ed. Steven Marcus (New York: Library of America, 1999), p. 135. []
  46. #46 Marina MacKay, Modernism and World War II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 1. []
  47. #47 On Britain's incremental loss of imperial power, see John Darwin, The End of the British Empire: The Historical Debate (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991); Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict 1500-2000 (New York: Random House, 1987); Correlli Barnett, The Collapse of British Power (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1986). []
  48. #48 Raymond Chandler, The Raymond Chandler Papers, p. 239. []
  49. #49 John A. McClure uses the concept of "unmapping" to describe the reconfiguration of imperial power after World War II in Late Imperial Romance (London: Verso, 1994), p. 33. []
  50. #50 Jed Esty, A Shrinking Island: Modernism and National Culture in England (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004), pp. 40-41, 119-121. []
  51. #51 Patrick Brantlinger, Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism 1830-1914 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990), pp, 227-254; Cannon Schmitt, Alien Nation: Nineteenth-Century Gothic Fictions and English Nationality (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997). []
  52. #52 Brantlinger, Rule of Darkness, p. 230. []
  53. #53 Schmitt, Alien Nation, p. 2. []
  54. #54 Cited in Brantlinger, Rule of Darkness, p. 239. []
  55. #55 Raymond Chandler, "The Tropical Romance," in Chandler Before Marlowe: Raymond Chandler's Early Prose and Poetry, 1908-1912, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli (Columbia: University of Southern Carolina Press, 1973), p. 68. []
  56. #56 Chandler, "The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler," p. 9. []
  57. #57 Between 1870 and 1900, Britain added to its Empire 750,000 square miles in Asia and the South Pacific, and 4,400,000 square miles in Africa. See Nicholas Daly, Modernism, Romance and the Fin de Siècle: Popular Fiction and British Culture 1880-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), p. 32. []
  58. #58 P.J. Cain and A.G. Hopkins, British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction 1914-1990 (London: Longman, 1993), p. 3. []
  59. #59 Chandler, "Notes (very brief please) on English and American Style," p. 22; Chandler, The Raymond Chandler Papers, p. 255. []
  60. #60 See McClure, Late Imperial Romance. []
  61. #61 Esty, A Shrinking Island, p. 31. []
  62. #62 Esty, A Shrinking Island, p. 31. []
  63. #63 Orr, A Darkly Perfect World, pp. 53-87. []
  64. #64 Brooks, The Melodramatic Imagination, p. 17. []
  65. #65 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, The Coherence of Gothic Conventions (New York: Arno Press, 1980), p. 13. []
  66. #66 Sedgwick, The Coherence of Gothic Conventions, p. 70. []
  67. #67 The fullest account of Chandler's reading of Eliot is Jonathan Eburne, "Chandler's Waste Land," Studies in the Novel 35.3 (2003): 366-382. Eliot's fondness for Chandler and, in particular, his grasp of Californian law, is documented in Peter Ackroyd, T.S. Eliot: A Life (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), p. 167. []
  68. #68 On the relationship between Eliot's modernism and English notions of class, see Lois Cucullu, "Downsizing the 'Great Divide,'" in Disciplining Modernism, ed. Pamela Caughie (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009), pp. 167-181. On Eliot's Englishness more generally, including his self-conscious assumption of the Arnoldian legacy, see Simon Grimble, "Englishness," in T.S. Eliot in Context, ed. Jason Harding (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 43-51. []
  69. #69 On Eliot's exploitation of his "objective" position as a stranger in England, see Grimble, "Englishness," pp. 46-7. []
  70. #70 T. S. Eliot, Selected Essays (London: Faber, 1932), p. 422. []
  71. #71 David E. Chinitz, T.S. Eliot and the Cultural Divide (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), pp. 163-64. Ironically, Chandler himself was unimpressed by The Cocktail Party when he read it in 1951 (SL 305). []
  72. #72 Chinitz, T.S. Eliot and the Cultural Divide, p. 150. Despite acknowledging Kipling's jingoism in 1928, by 1941 Eliot was writing that "we must accustom ourselves to recognizing that for Kipling the Empire was not merely an idea, a good idea or a bad one . . . it was something the reality of which he felt." T.S. Eliot, "Rudyard Kipling," in On Poetry and Poets (New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1957), p. 284. On Eliot's evolving reception of Kipling, see Louis Menand, Discovering Modernism: T.S. Eliot and his Context (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 159. []
  73. #73 See Eburne, "Chandler's Waste Land"; McGann, Gumshoe America, pp. 195-6; John T. Irwin, Unless the Threat of Death is Behind Them: Hard-Boiled Fiction and Film Noir (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), pp. 61-2. []
  74. #74 Simon Gikandi, Maps of Englishness: Writing Identity in the Culture of Colonialism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), p. 194. []
  75. #75 T.S. Eliot, Notes Towards A Definition of Culture (London: Faber, 1949), p. 52. []
  76. #76 T.S. Eliot, Collected Poems 1909-1962 (London: Faber, 1974), p. 222. Further citations are given parenthetically in the text. []
  77. #77 Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. John Cumming (London: Verso, 1997), p. 135. []