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“He had one of the rarest qualities in all literature, and it’s a great shame that the word for it has been thoroughly debased by the cosmetic racketeers, so that one is almost ashamed to use it to describe a real distinction. Nevertheless, the word is charm — charm as Keats would have used it. Who has it today? It’s not a matter of pretty writing or clear style. It’s a kind of subdued magic, controlled and exquisite, the sort of thing you get from good string quartettes.”

RAYMOND CHANDLER referring to F. Scott Fitzgerald in a 1950 letter to a friend

Photo: Carl Van Vechten, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Van Vechten Collection, reproduction number LC-USZ62-88103 DLC.