When it comes to literary legends, Los Angeles isn’t exactly the first place you’d expect to find them. But some of the best pieces of literature happen to be inspired by the infamous city of Angels.
Raymond Chandler Square
Hollywood Blvd. and Cahuenga Blvd.
Los Angeles was the stomping grounds for Raymond Chandler’s fictional private investigator Philip Marlowe introduced in his first novel, “The Big Sleep” in 1939. The fictitious Hollywood office for his private eye protagonist was on the 6th floor of “The Cahuenga Building” which was actually Security Pacific Bank at the corner of Hollywood and Cahuenga at 6831 Hollywood Boulevard. That very street corner was later named Raymond Chandler Square in 1994 in honor of Chandler’s elegant portrayal of the city and its people.
The Hollywood Sign
Los Angeles, CA
This literary landmark is probably the most recognized of them all since its erection in 1923. The sign originally read “Hollywoodland” and was only supposed to stay up for a little more than a year, but was later declared a historical monument in 1973 by local citizens and rebuilt five years later. The Hollywood Sign has served as a worldwide icon for the entertainment industry and the backdrop for many films and pieces of literature including Nathaniel West’s 1939 novel, “The Day of the Locust,” which was set in Hollywood during the Great Depression and named one of the best novels of the 20th century by Time magazine.
U.S. Post Office
900 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Charles Bukowski is another well-known author in Los Angeles who wrote the 1971 novel “Post Office” which is said to be semi-autobiographical in nature. The novel takes place in this very post office located at 900 N. Alameda Street. Bukowski fans consider this particular post office a literary landmark because it was the same place where Bukowski himself worked back in the late 50s and 60s before being offered $100 a week to quit his job and write full-time instead. His novel “Post Office” was written one month after leaving his postal service job.
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3900 Stansbury Ave.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
LA novelist and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis made his literary debut in 1985 with the publication of “Less Than Zero” while he was still in college at the age of 21. The fictional high school portrayed in “Less Than Zero” has a striking resemblance to the college prep school Ellis himself attended in his prime at The Buckley School, which was founded in 1933. Ellis is most known for his 1991 novel “American Novel” which later turned into a cult film starring Christian Bale.
Leimert Park District
Los Angeles, CA 90008
Inspired by the true story of Elizabeth Short’s murder back in 1947, author James Ellroy wrote “The Black Dhalia” as sort of a tribute to his mother who was also murdered in 1958. Short’s murder remains one of the oldest unsolved murder cases in the history of Los Angeles. Her body was found in the Leimert Park district of Los Angeles in a vacant lot located at the corner of West 39th Street and South Norton Avenue. “The Black Dhalia” (1987) was Ellroy’s first out of four crime novels, known as the L.A. Quartet, all set in Los Angeles during the late 1940s to late 1950s.
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