The Sound of L.A. Noir: Listening to Marlowe’s Los Angeles in Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye and Benjamin Black’s The Black-Eyed Blonde

Annika Eisenberg (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt)

Abstract

Cities have distinct sounds. Some cities might sound alike, some may vary by subtle degrees, and others exhibit significant acoustic landmarks. But how does this play out for cities in literature? In this article Annika Eisenberg explores what Los Angeles sounds like in Raymond Chandler’s novel The Long Goodbye (1953), with the occasional glance towards earlier and later novels, and how Chandler’s sonic evocation of L.A. might find its equivalent in the latest Philip Marlowe novel The Black-Eyed Blonde (2014) by Benjamin Black (nom de plume of the Irish novelist John Banville), which ties in intertextually with characters and plot structures from The Long Goodbye.

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