Thursday, 2 August 2012

LETTERS OF NOTE: Burroughs vs. Capote

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Following on from my post about Gore Vidal, here's a post from Letters from Note about his friend and counterpart, Truman Capote.

In 1966 Capote's magnum opus, the true crime novel In Cold Blood, was published to critical acclaim having been serialised in The New Yorker. But not everyone in literary or popular circles was falling head over heels to praise Capote's book: some, like Naked Lunch author William S. Burroughs, deeply hated it.

In a damning letter to Capote in 1970, Burroughs attacked the book as "dull" and "unreadable", and condemed Capote for appearing to condone police brutality in extraction confessions from the murder suspects. Although Burroughs was a fan of Capote's early work, he accused him of "sell[ing] ing out a talent that is not yours to sell" (his emphasis) and predicting that he would never write anything as good again - which, in the long run, turned out to be correct.

You can find the entire text of Burroughs' letter here. For more stuff vaguely related to Capote, check out my post about Harper from a while back, here.

Daniel

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