The Big Sleep Criticism

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Knopf published The Big Sleep in America in 1939 and Hamish Hamilton published the first English edition the same year. The novel received brief but favorable reviews in publications in both countries, with reviewers likening Chandler's work to that of Dashiell Hammett's, the foremost writer of detective novels in the 1920s and 1930s. The first American printing of 5,000 copies sold out quickly, and a second printing was ordered immediately in both the United States and England. Chandler's publishers were so pleased with his success they offered him a 20 percent royalty for the first 5,000 copies of his next novel, and 25 percent on any copies sold beyond that.

After Chandler's death, his reputation as a serious writer grew, with many critics claiming The Big Sleep as his best novel. In his biography, The Life of Raymond Chandler, Frank MacShane argues that although the novel was in reality a stitching together and...

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This section contains 367 words
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Buy The Big Sleep Study Guide
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The Big Sleep from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.