"Drifted through waves of false memory". Philip Marlowe detective-reduce della Prima guerra mondiale

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] "Drifted through waves of false memory". Philip Marlowe detective-reduce della Prima guerra mondiale

Giulio Segato

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

[Autom. eng. transl.] It is surprising how the Anglo-American detective story has been analyzed from many different points of view - ethnic, gender, political and social - but never in its relations with the war literature, from the two world wars to Vietnam. At a glance the two subgenres of the novel may appear only partially convergent, but a more in-depth consideration shows that they are indeed very similar. Both, in fact, possess common key concepts and feelings, such as disillusionment and anger. Moreover, they often represent their heroes in a very similar way, that is, as disoriented men, victims of a ruthless destiny. Subjects who struggle to live in a society that has never personally known the atrocities of war and the severity of individual sacrifice. However, while the impact of war on culture and society has generally been recognized and studied, the impact on the individual, whether the author or the protagonist of the story, has often remained hidden. Raymond Chandler's first novel starring Marlowe, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939 and immediately gained considerable public success. Marlowe perfectly embodies the typical characteristics of the American private detective: he is a rude and cynical individual, naturally predisposed to violence and prone to a certain misogyny. However, there is no explicit indication within the seven novels and a half starring Marlowe that the hero had a soldier's past. Yet his behavior, his ailments, his recurring nightmares and his natural predisposition to violence make him a perfect veteran of the war. In this framework, starting from the analysis of Chandler's biography, and above all the impact that the Great War had on the Illinois native writer, it is possible to see Philip Marlowe as a veteran of the First World War. In fact, on closer inspection, Marlowe's behavior traits are clearly those of a veteran. They fit perfectly into the three typical classifications of post-traumatic symptoms: intrusion, avoidance and hyperarousal. Above all the symptoms of the intrusion seem to appear clearly in the chandlerian works, through continuous "waves of false memory" and particular body descriptions. With Philip Marlowe, Chandler created a fictional character who soon became a vehicle for his emotions. My essay aims to show how Chandler projects his war trauma as an infantryman into World War II through the analysis of some psychoses and the description of some of the detective's bodily suffering
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] "Drifted through waves of false memory". Philip Marlowe detective-reduce della Prima guerra mondiale
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationEssere Corpo. La Prima guera mondiale tra letteratura e storia
Pages71-82
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Philip Marlowe
  • letteratura di guerra
  • romanzo poliziesco
  • war american literature

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