Mayhem and Murder: The File on Philip Marlowe  


Course Description

“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.” The man in question is the tough yet chivalrous private eye Philip Marlowe who lives on the pages of the hardboiled novels of his creator Raymond Chandler. The novels evoke the mayhem and murder in the Los Angeles of the nineteen thirties and early forties. In creating Marlowe and his milieu, Chandler shifted the emphasis in the detective novel from  solving a mystery to confronting the ambiguities and uncertainties of the chase. What prompted Chandler to consciously transform this lesser genre? How did his innovative treatment of ambience, character, and everyday lingo—still imitated in fiction and film—elevate its tone? Is it his literary achievement or is it his  bleak but powerful—even prophetic—vision of American society that sustains our interest in his work today? These questions are the focus of discussion in this 12-week course, which traces Chandler’s development as writer from the Black Mask short stories to the novels chosen for class discussion, starting with The Big Sleep. Other course readings include Chandler’s literary manifesto The Simple Art of Murder, selected letters, and jottings from his notebooks.  Film versions of the novels under discussion will be shown.

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning): 

  • Raymond Chandler, The Simple Art of Murder
  • Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep
  • Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely
  • Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
  • Frederic Jameson, Raymond Chandler: Detections of Totality

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 16 students and that TMI does not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Atwater

First Session: Thursday, September 21st, 2023

Course Length: 12 weeks, Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Discussion Team: Andrew Byers, Irene Menear, and another                                                       

Degree Credit: 3.0 credits

Course Fee: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)

$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)

$135.00 (promotion for new students)

For 12-week courses, fees are refundable in full before the second session. If the participant withdraws after the second course, they will be charged a $50 fee. There is no refund after the third course has passed. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

Fill the following form to register

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