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Posts Tagged ‘truman capote’

William Styron in Letters, Part 5

December 7, 2012 | by

To George Plimpton

December 1, 1953 Ravello, Italy

Dear George:

Herewith the interview, revised and expanded. I think that in the future it might be a good idea for you to get a tape-recorder for these darn things, because it’s a bitch of a job for the interviewee to edit his own words. Now you will note that I did not completely eliminate all the first part; as a matter of fact I retained the bulk of it, but made quite a few changes and emendations. I think it’s better now, certainly printable. Besides all the additions, you will notice I made a few eliminations. I cut out a few of the cuss-words, which were all too abundant. I cut out the cracks against little Truman and Anthony West, who God knows deserves them, but they seemed a little in poor taste. I also tempered my criticism of Faulkner. I have tried to keep the tone impersonal and conversational throughout, and I think that I’ve succeeded.

You will notice, too, that I’ve taken your suggestion and have added quite a bit toward the end. I hope you will find the questions—some of which are yours—and answers suitable; at least the piece is considerably lengthened, and I’ve gotten off my chest a few things I’ve wanted to say. One important thing is that I think you must somehow invent a little atmosphere to surround the piece. It’s mighty bare without any stage directions, and I think if you place the thing right where the original interview started, in the Café Select, or some equivalent, it will provide a suitably bibulous background.

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William Styron in Letters

December 3, 2012 | by

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end,” explained William Styron in his 1954 Art of Fiction interview. “You live several lives while reading it. Its writer should, too.” Such is the experience in reading Styron’s Selected Letters, edited by Rose Styron, with R. Blakeslee Gilpin, and published this week. Alongside major cultural and political events of the latter half of the twentieth century are intimate accounts of family life, depression, writing, frustrations, and friendships.

Of his many lives, Styron may be best remembered in this office for his influence on the early years of The Paris Review. It is awfully fun to see those moments surface in his correspondence, and our selection was made with those moments in mind. Look for a new letter each day this week.

To Dorothy Parker

July 19, 1952 Paris, France

Honeybunch darling—the story is, I believe, coming along just dandy and my pretty much night and day work on it is the main reason I haven’t written you before this. It is now between 11,000 and 12,000 words, which I figure is about two-thirds complete. It has some really good—fine—things in it so far, and I think it will be even better when it’s finished. In fact I think I can say it has some of my best writing in it and will make stories by people like Hemingway and Turgenev pale in comparison. That sounds a bit like what Hemingway would say, doesn’t it? Read More »

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Truman Capote Manuscript Is Discovered, and Other News

November 16, 2012 | by

  • An unfinished Truman Capote manuscript is discovered at the New York Public Library.
  • Cocktail recipes by Hemingway.
  • Pope Benedict encourages his flock to learn Latin.
  • Poems in the voice of cats.
  • Nora Roberts revitalizes her Maryland town.
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    I Sent My Book to David Foster Wallace and All I Got Was This Lousy Postcard

    November 2, 2012 | by

  • “Why did he choose to send me a postcard? Simply because it’s a few cents cheaper than mailing a letter in an envelope? Was it just sitting around when he was looking for something to write on? Does he buy stacks of these postcards for the express purpose of responding to random fans? And worse, does he write this same prepared response to every letter?” Frank Cassese on hearing from DFW.
  • An unpublished Truman Capote story has come to light and will be published later this month.
  • “Within the world of the Thurber dog there are many different specimens and varieties.”
  • “I don’t know why Hollywood is fascinated by my book when they never care to film it as I wrote it.” Authors respond to adaptations of their work.
  • “For Halloween, a pointy hat, fake hair and a broom [make] a witch’s outfit.” And other wisdom from Pippa Middleton’s literary debut
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    Crumb on Bukowski, Rushdie on James

    October 11, 2012 | by

  • A match made … well, you decide where! R. Crumb illustrates Charles Bukowski.
  • How to survive an online pan: in this case, persuade the author to remove it.
  • A history of cricket in literature.
  • A new attempt at a Breakfast at Tiffany’s musical is headed for Broadway.
  • “I've never read anything so badly written that got published.” Salman Rushdie on Fifty Shades of Grey.
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    Gore Vidal’s Bully Republic

    August 6, 2012 | by

    A few years ago, fresh off a diet of Wilde, Maugham, and Saki, I was beginning to feel disappointed by the gay pantheon. Not the actual writing—no one could find fault with that. It was the example of their lives that depressed me, ending more often than not in loneliness and/or despair, if not complete exile.

    I remember having a conversation with my father about it. I told him what I’d really have liked to find, in my exhaustive search of the canon, was a gay superhero. You know: fucking dudes, saving the world. Never mind the fact that superheroes, with their notoriously contour-hugging apparel, are usually assumed gay by default. I wanted something that had existed, something from history. My father considered my criteria.

    “I think what you want is Gore Vidal.”

    I think it took me all of one day to read Myra Breckinridge in full and possibly a month to process it. The cartoon version of gender deviance it put forth was one that, against all odds, enraptured me. From its famous opening (“I am Myra Breckinridge whom no man will ever possess”) to Myra’s core, radical aim in life (“the destruction of the last vestigial traces of traditional manhood in the race in order to realign the sexes…”), to the lengthy rape scene three quarters through, wherein Myra rapes a guy with a strap-on, comparing herself to an Amazon and making him say thank you afterward, the message was clear. She was the ultimate queer bully, taking no prisoners and getting a comeuppance so ridiculous that Vidal gives the reader no choice but to discount any kind of moral implications it might have otherwise had.Read More »

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