Author Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep slapped with trigger warning

Author Raymond Chandler’s first book The Big Sleep which was published in 1939 is slapped with trigger warning by publishers over ‘outdated language’

  • The novel is described by Vintage as ‘outstanding’ but is ‘firmly of its time’
  • READ: Virginia Woolf’s 1927 novel To the Lighthouse is given a trigger warning 

Raymond Chandler’s first novel published in 1939 has been hit by a trigger warning by its publisher because of its ‘outdated language’. 

The Big Sleep is considered to be an all time best work of crime fiction and is the first of Chandler’s novels to introduce his character of the private detective Philip Marlowe. 

Vintage, a publishing house under Penguin Random House, has now put a note on the book noting its ‘outdated language and cultural representations’. 

Chandler’s novel is described by the publisher as a story of ‘a dying millionaire who hires private eye Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters’.

As a result Marlowe finds himself involved with kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder.

Raymond Chandler’s (pictured in 1954) first novel published in 1939 has been hit by a trigger warning by its publisher because of its ‘outdated language’

Pictured is the cover of the Vintage edition of The Big Sleep, which includes a warning in the front

READ MORE HERE: The Old Man and the PC! Woke warnings on ‘language and attitudes’ of Ernest Hemingway books

The note on the inside of the novel reads: ‘While these books are outstanding works in the genre, they are also firmly of the time and place in which they were written. 

‘These novels may contain outdated cultural representations and language.

‘We present these works as originally published,’ it says according to The Telegraph.

The publisher has acquired the special selection of crime novels after taking over detective novel publisher Black Lizard to form Vintage Crime/Black Lizard.

The seven titles, described as noir mysteries and available to American customers, are decorated with a small black lizard and a singular block colour. They all contain a brief warning to readers. 

Other novels in the collection include The Postman Always Rings by James M Cain, A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes and A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell.

It is understood that these special editions are not being issued in the UK.  

The trigger warning comes a month after Ernest Hemingway’s works were hit with warnings over his ‘language and attitudes’. 

Penguin Random House is reissuing the Old Man and the Sea author’s works and in the latest edition of his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises it says: ‘The publisher’s decision to present it as it was originally published is not intended as an endorsement of cultural representations or language contained herein.’

Nobel Prize-winner Ernest Hemingway has also been slapped with trigger warnings by publishers over ‘language and attitudes’

Virginia Woolf’s (pictured) 1927 novel To the Lighthouse is now published with a disclaimer about the contents of the book

His Men Without Women short story collection has a similar warning. The Sun Also Rises is considered one of the greatest American novels, but has faced criticism for anti-Semitic tropes. 

Also on the list is Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. Woolf’s semi-autobiographical novel tells the stories of trips made by the Ramsay family to their summer home on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

A new edition, published by Vintage, will, however, be prefaced with a statement explaining that the decision to print the novel in its original form is not an ‘endorsement’ of the ‘cultural representations or language’ used in Woolf’s book.  

Also affected are the works of PG Wodehouse which were issued  with a blanket trigger warning over concerns that it contains ‘outdated’ social attitudes.

All news editions of Wodehouse’s work will now come with warnings saying that his novels depict obsolete attitudes.

Vintage was approached for comment by MailOnline.  

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