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A visit with Truman Capote
02.06.2014
12:01 pm
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etopacmantruclutt.jpg
 
Truman Capote said he started writing In Cold Blood to test out his theory that a writer could produce a work of art out of factual material.

“This new adventure of mine, the experiment, is what I call ‘the non-fiction novel.’

“A non-fiction novel being a genre brought about by the synthesis of journalism with fictional technique. In other words, the end result of it being this new book of mine, In Cold Blood.

In Cold Blood is the story about the murder of a family, in a small town in western Kansas. A Mr. Herbert W. Clutter, and his wife, Bonnie Clutter, and their two teenage children. This was an especially strange and brutal murder in 1959, in which the family were shot to death for no apparent cause or motive whatever.”

His experiment was a success, and made Capote perhaps the best known novelist in the world. But it came at very high price, for Capote was never to equal the quality of the writing he achieved with In Cold Blood ever again.

Produced, filmed and edited by Davis Maysles, Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, this brief film A Visit With Truman Capote (aka With Love From Truman) captures the author at his Long Island hideaway, during an interview with Karen Gundersen from Newsweek magazine.
 

 
Part 2 after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.06.2014
12:01 pm
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William Burroughs’ cold-blooded letter to Truman Capote
08.02.2012
05:44 pm
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Ouch!
 
William Burroughs was no fan of Truman Capote as is made clear in this verbal beat down in the form of a letter written by Burroughs upon the publication of Capote’s In Cold Blood.

July 23, 1970

My Dear Mr. Truman Capote

This is not a fan letter in the usual sense — unless you refer to ceiling fans in Panama. Rather call this a letter from “the reader” — vital statistics are not in capital letters — a selection from marginal notes on material submitted as all “writing” is submitted to this department. I have followed your literary development from its inception, conducting on behalf of the department I represent a series of inquiries as exhaustive as your own recent investigations in the sun flower state. I have interviewed all your characters beginning with Miriam — in her case withholding sugar over a period of several days proved sufficient inducement to render her quite communicative — I prefer to have all the facts at my disposal before taking action. Needless to say, I have read the recent exchange of genialities between Mr Kenneth Tynan and yourself. I feel that he was much too lenient. Your recent appearance before a senatorial committee on which occasion you spoke in favor of continuing the present police practice of extracting confessions by denying the accused the right of consulting consul prior to making a statement also came to my attention. In effect you were speaking in approval of standard police procedure: obtaining statements through brutality and duress, whereas an intelligent police force would rely on evidence rather than enforced confessions. You further cheapened yourself by reiterating the banal argument that echoes through letters to the editor whenever the issue of capital punishment is raised: “Why all this sympathy for the murderer and none for his innocent victims?” I have in line of duty read all your published work. The early work was in some respects promising — I refer particularly to the short stories. You were granted an area for psychic development. It seemed for a while as if you would make good use of this grant. You choose instead to sell out a talent that is not yours to sell. You have written a dull unreadable book which could have been written by any staff writer on the New Yorker — (an undercover reactionary periodical dedicated to the interests of vested American wealth). You have placed your services at the disposal of interests who are turning America into a police state by the simple device of deliberately fostering the conditions that give rise to criminality and then demanding increased police powers and the retention of capital punishment to deal with the situation they have created. You have betrayed and sold out the talent that was granted you by this department. That talent is now officially withdrawn. Enjoy your dirty money. You will never have anything else. You will never write another sentence above the level of In Cold Blood. As a writer you are finished. Over and out. Are you tracking me? Know who I am? You know me, Truman. You have known me for a long time. This is my last visit.

 
Via Letters Of Note

Posted by Marc Campbell
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08.02.2012
05:44 pm
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