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Truman Capote, 1924 - 1984 Novelist and playwright Truman Streckfus Person was born in 1924 in New Orleans to a salesman and a 16-year-old beauty queen. His parents divorced when he was four years old and was then raised by relatives for a few years in Monroeville. His mother was remarried to a successful businessman, moved to New York, and Truman adopted his stepfather's surname. He attended Greenwich High School and never went to college. When he was 17, Capote's formal education ended when he was employed at The New Yorker magazine. He belived he did not need to go to college to be a writer, since he was writing seriously since age 11. Capote's first novel was "Other Voices, Other Rooms" (1948), which told the story of a boy growing up in the Deep South. "The Grass Harp" (1951) is about a young boy and his elderly cousin discovering that some compromise is necessary for people to live together in a community and was adapted to screen in 1996. The play "The House of Flowers" (1954) is a musical set in a West Indies bordello. Capote then wrote, "Breakfast at Tiffanys" (1958), which tells the story of how Holly Golightly goes to New York seeking happiness. Capote became preoccupied with journalism and, sparked by the murder of a wealthy family in Holcomb, Kansas, began interviewing the locals to recreate the lives of the murderers and their victims. The research and writing for this novel, "In Cold Blood" (1966), took six years for him to complete. Other works of Capote's include the classic "A Christmas Memory" (1966), which is an autobiographical account of a seven-year-old boy, his cousin, and an eccentric old lady, "Music for Chameleons" (1981), which is a collection of short pieces, interviews, stories and conversations that were published in several magazines, and "One Christmas" (1982). On August 26, 1984 in Los Angeles, Truman Capote died of liver disease complicated by phlebitis and multiple drug intoxication. Published after his death were "Conversations With Capote" (1985) and "Answered Prayers: The Untitled Novel" (1986).
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Truman Capote, 1924 - 1984 Novelist and playwright Truman Streckfus Person was born in 1924 in New Orleans to a salesman and a 16-year-old beauty queen. His parents divorced when he was four years old and was then raised by relatives for a few years in Monroeville. His mother was remarried to a successful businessman, moved to New York, and Truman adopted his stepfather's surname. He attended Greenwich High School and never went to college. When he was 17, Capote's formal education ended when he was employed at The New Yorker magazine. He belived he did not need to go to college to be a writer, since he was writing seriously since age 11. Capote's first novel was "Other Voices, Other Rooms" (1948), which told the story of a boy growing up in the Deep South. "The Grass Harp" (1951) is about a young boy and his elderly cousin discovering that some compromise is necessary for people to live together in a community and was adapted to screen in 1996. The play "The House of Flowers" (1954) is a musical set in a West Indies bordello. Capote then wrote, "Breakfast at Tiffanys" (1958), which tells the story of how Holly Golightly goes to New York seeking happiness. Capote became preoccupied with journalism and, sparked by the murder of a wealthy family in Holcomb, Kansas, began interviewing the locals to recreate the lives of the murderers and their victims. The research and writing for this novel, "In Cold Blood" (1966), took six years for him to complete. Other works of Capote's include the classic "A Christmas Memory" (1966), which is an autobiographical account of a seven-year-old boy, his cousin, and an eccentric old lady, "Music for Chameleons" (1981), which is a collection of short pieces, interviews, stories and conversations that were published in several magazines, and "One Christmas" (1982). On August 26, 1984 in Los Angeles, Truman Capote died of liver disease complicated by phlebitis and multiple drug intoxication. Published after his death were "Conversations With Capote" (1985) and "Answered Prayers: The Untitled Novel" (1986).
Books by thisAuthor
  • The Complete Stories

    The Complete Stories
    From the Modern Library’s new set of beautifully repackaged hardcover classics by Truman Capote—also available are Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Other Voices, Other Rooms (in one volume), In Cold Blood, and Portraits and Observations Most readers know Truman Capote as the author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, or they remember his notorious social life and wild and witty public appearances. But he was also the author of superb short tales that were as elegant as they were heartfelt, as compassionate as they were grotesque. This volume is the first to assemble all of Capote’s short fiction—a collection that indeed confirms his status as one of the masters of this form. From the Gothic South to the chic East Coast, from rural children to aging urban sophisticates, all the unforgettable places and people of Capote’s oeuvre are captured in this compendium. The Complete Stories of Truman Capote restores its author to a place not only above mere celebrity but to the highest levels of American letters.

    In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood
    Truman Capote’s masterpiece, In Cold Blood, created a sensation when it was first published, serially, in The New Yorker in 1965. The intensively researched, atmospheric narrative of the lives of the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, and of the two men, Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, who brutally killed them on the night of November 15, 1959, is the seminal work of the “new journalism.” Perry Smith is one of the great dark characters of American literature, full of contradictory emotions. “I thought he was a very nice gentleman,” he says of Herb Clutter. “Soft-spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat.” Told in chapters that alternate between the Clutter household and the approach of Smith and Hickock in their black Chevrolet, then between the investigation of the case and the killers’ flight, Capote’s account is so detailed that the reader comes to feel almost like a participant in the events.

    Breakfast at Tiffany's

    Breakfast at Tiffany's
    In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany's; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm. This volume also includes three of Capote's best-known stories, “House of Flowers,” “A Diamond Guitar,” and “A Christmas Memory,” which the Saturday Review called “one of the most moving stories in our language.” It is a tale of two innocents—a small boy and the old woman who is his best friend—whose sweetness contains a hard, sharp kernel of truth.

    Other Voices, Other Rooms

    Other Voices, Other Rooms
    Truman Capote’s first novel is a story of almost supernatural intensity and inventiveness, an audacious foray into the mind of a sensitive boy as he seeks out the grown-up enigmas of love and death in the ghostly landscape of the deep South. At the age of twelve, Joel Knox is summoned to meet the father who abandoned him at birth. But when Joel arrives at the decaying mansion in Skully’s Landing, his father is nowhere in sight. What he finds instead is a sullen stepmother who delights in killing birds; an uncle with the face—and heart—of a debauched child; and a fearsome little girl named Idabel who may offer him the closest thing he has ever known to love.

  • Music For Chameleons

    Music For Chameleons
    In these gems of reportage Truman Capote takes true stories and real people and renders them with the stylistic brio we expect from great fiction. Here we encounter an exquisitely preserved Creole aristocrat sipping absinthe in her Martinique salon; an enigmatic killer who sends his victims announcements of their forthcoming demise; and a proper Connecticut householder with a ruinous obsession for a twelve-year-old he has never met. And we meet Capote himself, who, whether he is smoking with his cleaning lady or trading sexual gossip with Marilyn Monroe, remains one of the most elegant, malicious, yet compassionate writers to train his eye on the social fauna of his time.

    Summer Crossing

    Summer Crossing
    A Novel
    Thought to be lost for over 50 years, here is the first novel by one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Set in New York during the summer of 1945, this is the story of a young carefree socialite, Grady, who must make serious decisions about the romance she is dangerously pursuing and the effect it will have on everyone involved. Fans of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Capote’s short stories will be thrilled to read Summer Crossing.

    A Christmas Memory

    A Christmas Memory
    First published in 1956, this much sought-after autobiographical recollection of Truman Capote's rural Alabama boyhood has become a modern-day classic. We are proud to be reprinting this warm and delicately illustrated edition of A Christmas Memory--"a tiny gem of a holiday story" (School Library Journal, starred review). Seven-year-old Buddy inaugurates the Christmas season by crying out to his cousin, Miss Sook Falk: "It's fruitcake weather!" Thus begins an unforgettable portrait of an odd but enduring friendship between two innocent souls--one young and one old--and the memories they share of beloved holiday rituals.  

    Portraits and Observations

    Portraits and Observations
    The Essays of Truman Capote
    Perhaps no twentieth-century writer was so observant and graceful a chronicler of his times as Truman Capote. Portraits and Observations is the first volume devoted solely to all the essays ever published by this most beloved of writers. Included are such masterpieces of narrative nonfiction as “The Muses Are Heard” and the short nonfiction novel “Handcarved Coffins,” as well as many long-out-of-print essays, including portraits of Mae West, Humphrey Bogart, and Marilyn Monroe. From his travel sketches of Brooklyn, New Orleans, and Hollywood, written when he was twenty-two, to the author’s last written words, composed the day before his death in 1984, the recently discovered “Remembering Willa Cather,” Portraits and Observations puts on display the full spectrum of Truman Capote’s brilliance. Certainly Capote was, as Somerset Maugham famously called him, “a stylist of the first quality.” But as the pieces gathered here remind us, he was also an artist of remarkable substance. Praise for Portraits and Observations NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD “A must-have treasure for Capote fans . . . These are delicious, dramatic, and tender nonfiction portraits and tales.” –NPR’s Morning Edition “A wonderful volume . . . Nearly every page can be read with real pleasure. . . . No matter what his subject, [Capote’s] canny, careful art gives it warm and breathing life”   –The Washington Post Book World “Every piece is a treasure. . . . Pages and pages of remarkably evocative, careful and well-observed prose [delineate,] in a measured and elegant manner, one of the most remarkable American literary lives of the twentieth century.” –Jane Smiley, Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • The Grass Harp

    The Grass Harp
    Set on the outskirts of a small Southern town, The Grass Harp tells the story of three endearing misfits—an orphaned boy and two whimsical old ladies—who one day take up residence in a tree house. As they pass sweet yet hazardous hours in a china tree, The Grass Harp manages to convey all the pleasures and responsibilities of freedom. But most of all it teaches us about the sacredness of love, “that love is a chain of love, as nature is a chain of life.” This volume also includes Capote’s A Tree of Night and Other Stories, which the Washington Post called “unobtrusively beautiful . . . a superlative book.”

    The Complete Stories of Truman Capote

    The Complete Stories of Truman Capote
    A landmark collection that brings together Truman Capote’s life’s work in the form he called his “great love,” The Complete Stories confirms Capote’s status as a master of the short story. Ranging from the gothic South to the chic East Coast, from rural children to aging urban sophisticates, all the unforgettable places and people of Capote’s oeuvre are here, in stories as elegant as they are heartfelt, as haunting as they are compassionate. Reading them reminds us of the miraculous gifts of a beloved American original.

    Too Brief a Treat

    Too Brief a Treat
    The Letters of Truman Capote
    The private letters of Truman Capote, lovingly assembled here for the first time by acclaimed Capote biographer Gerald Clarke, provide an intimate, unvarnished portrait of one of the twentieth century’s most colorful and fascinating literary figures. Capote was an inveterate letter writer. He wrote letters as he spoke: emphatically, spontaneously, and passionately. Spanning more than four decades, his letters are the closest thing we have to a Capote autobiography, showing us the uncannily self-possessed naïf who jumped headlong into the post–World War II New York literary scene; the more mature Capote of the 1950s; the Capote of the early 1960s, immersed in the research and writing of In Cold Blood; and Capote later in life, as things seem to be unraveling. With cameos by a veritable who’s who of twentieth-century glitterati, Too Brief a Treat shines a spotlight on the life and times of an incomparable American writer.

    In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood
    National Bestseller  On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.  As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy.In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence. From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • A Christmas Memory

    A Christmas Memory
    Taking its place next to Breakfast at Tiffany's and In Cold Blood on the Modern Library bookshelf is this new and original edition of Capote's most famous short stories: "A Christmas Memory, " "One Christmas, " and "A Thanksgiving Memory." All three stories are distinguished by Capote's delicate interplay of childhood sensibility and recollective vision.

    A sangre Fria

    A sangre Fria
    On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues...

    Breakfast at Tiffany's & Other Voices, Other Rooms

    Breakfast at Tiffany's & Other Voices, Other Rooms
    Two Novels
    From the Modern Library’s new set of beautifully repackaged hardcover classics by Truman Capote—also available are In Cold Blood, Portraits and Observations, and The Complete Stories Together in one volume, here are a pair of literary touchstones from Truman Capote’s extraordinary early career: the transcendently popular novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Other Voices, Other Rooms, the debut novel he published as a twenty-three-year-old prodigy.   Of all his characters, Capote once said, Holly Golightly was his favorite. The hillbilly-turned-Manhattanite at the center of Breakfast at Tiffany’s shares not only the author’s philosophy of freedom but also his fears and anxieties. For Holly, the cure is to jump into a taxi and head for Tiffany’s; nothing bad could happen, she believes, amid “that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets.”   Other Voices, Other Rooms begins as thirteen-year-old Joel Knox, after losing his mother, is sent from New Orleans to rural Alabama to live with his estranged father—who is nowhere to be found. Instead, Joel meets his eccentric family and finds a kindred spirit in a defiant little girl. Despite its themes of waylaid hopes and lost innocence, this semiautobiographical coming-of-age novel revels in small pleasures and the colorful language of its time and place.

    A House on the Heights

    A House on the Heights
    The tranquil life he led in the quiet enclave of Brooklyn Heights stood in sharp contrast to the glittering scene he adored on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge, but for a few years in the 1950's and '60's, Truman Capote happily made his home in a yellow brick house on Willow Street. By turns wistful and farcical, A House on the Heights vividly evokes a neighborhood Capote described as among Brooklyn's "splendid contradictions," a world of grand homes and dimly recalled gentility, of mysterious warehouses and cartoonish street thugs, of antiques and dowagers, a broad yard overhung with wisteria, and the famous Esplanade with its incomparable view—all rendered in Capote's deft and stylish prose.

  • In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood
    AP Teaching Unit
    Scoring a 5 on the AP Test Has Just Become Easier You no longer have to choose between "teaching the work" or "teaching to the test." Prestwick House Advanced Placement Teaching Units allow you to do both. Because we wanted the Prestwick House AP Teaching Units to meet the rigorous demands of the Advanced Placement class, we wrote detailed study guides that focus on the types of literary knowledge your students will have to demonstrate on their AP exams.

    Crucero de Verano

    Crucero de Verano
    An upper-class young woman is on her own in her family's Fifth Avenue penthouse while her parents and sister summer abroad. Bored and lonely, she develops a turbulent relationship with a Brooklyn WWII veteran clearly outside her social circle and religion.

    In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood
    Downloadable AP Teaching Unit
    Scoring a 5 on the AP Test Has Just Become Easier You no longer have to choose between "teaching the work" or "teaching to the test." Prestwick House Advanced Placement Teaching Units allow you to do both. Because we wanted the Prestwick House AP Teaching Units to meet the rigorous demands of the Advanced Placement class, we wrote detailed study guides that focus on the types of literary knowledge your students will have to demonstrate on their AP exams.

    My Sister's Hand in Mine

    My Sister's Hand in Mine
    The Collected Works of Jane Bowles
    Though she wrote only one novella, one short play, and fewer than a dozen short stories over a roughly twenty-year span from the early 1940s to the mid-1960s, Jane Bowles has long been regarded by critics as one of the premier stylists of her generation. Enlivened at unexpected moments by sexual exploration, mysticism, and flashes of wit alternately dry and hilarious, her prose is spare and honed, her stories filled with subtly sly characterizations of men and, mostly, women, dissatisfied not so much with the downward spiral of their fortunes as with the hollowness of their neat little lives. Whether focused on the separate emergences of Miss Goering and Mrs. Copperfield from their affluent, airless lives in New York and Panama into a less defined but intense sexual and social maelstrom in the novella Two Serious Ladies, or on the doomed efforts of the neighbors Mr. Drake and Mrs. Perry to form a connection out of their very different loneliness in "Plain Pleasures," or on the bittersweet cultural collision of an American wife and a peasant woman in Morocco in "Everything Is Nice," Jane Bowles creates whole worlds out of the unexpressed longings of individuals, adrift in their own lives, whether residing in their childhood homes or in faraway lands that are somehow both stranger and more familiar than what they left behind.

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