"DOWN THESE MEAN STREETS A MAN MUST GO": FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF RAYMOND CHANDLER'S THE LITTLE SISTER
CHANDLER, Raymond. The Little Sister. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1949. Octavo, original full orange cloth, original dust jacket. $3800.
First American edition, first state, of Chandler's fifth hard-boiled novel featuring his iconic private eye, Philip Marlowe, in original dust jacket.
Chandler ranks with "Ernest Hemingway, Theodore Dreiser, Ring Lardner, Sherwood Anderson, and even Walt Whitman" (Lockhart, xv) in his sense of the detective story as "the earliest and only form of popular literature in which is expressed some sense of the poetry of modern life" (MacShane, Life of Raymond Chandler, 47). In his essay, The Simple Art of Murder, Chandler noted that authors of detective novels write "of a world in which gangsters can rule nations and almost rule cities… it is not a fragrant world, but it is the world you live in." To Chandler, whose novels helped define the hard-boiled novel and film noir, crime stories "belong 'to a world gone wrong,' but 'down these mean streets a man must go who is himself not mean'" (Bruccoli & Layman, 65).
In speaking of Chandler's Little Sister
, novelist Robert Parker said: "I learned to write from Raymond Chandler… The second paragraph of Little Sister
reads this way: 'It was one of those clear, bright summer mornings we get in the early spring in California before the high fog sets in. The rains are over. The hills are still green and in the valley across the Hollywood Hills you can see snow on the high mountains. The fur stores are advertising their annual sales. The call houses that specialize in sixteen-year-old virgins are doing a land-office business. And in Beverly Hills the jacaranda trees are beginning to bloom…' It is quintessential Chandler. The careful juxtaposition of things gives us both a visual and a moral sense of place. We are reminded of the green land where promise once abounded, and we are reminded of what's become of it. We are also given a clear image of the kind of man we are meeting" (Reilly, 286). Chandler's novel was the basis for the 1969 film titled Marlowe
, starring James Garner. First state
, in full orange cloth. With original dust jacket designed by surrealist artist and illustrator Boris Artzybasheff. Preceded the same year by the London edition. Bruccoli A8.2.a. Reilly, 284. Hubin II, Vol.I:152..Barzun & Taylor 735.
Book fine; mere trace of edge-wear, faintest toning to spine of rare unrestored dust jacket. An exceptional about-fine copy.