Tuman Capote


The life of Truman Capote was riddled with celebrity, glamor, prestige, addiction and even murder. His books are a staple among literary classics. Capote believed

Truman Capote

that real-life events could make better fiction than the imagination could ever dream of. The movie version of his own life was a testament to that. Capote, staring the recently deceased Philip Seymour Hoffman, was ground-breaking tribute to Capotes life and his creation of one of his more captivating novels. Hoffman, who was recently found dead in his apartment bathroom with a heroin syringe still in his arm, portrayed the troubled author in a riveting, emotional performance. The movie was a critically-acclaimed retelling of Capotes journey while writing In Cold Blood, the true story of the gruesome murders of the Clutter family in Kansas. Hoffman gave an astonishing performance of Capote, as he researched the murders for what is typically heralded as the first nonfiction novel. Capote’s inner-torment as he builds relationships with the victim’s associates and with the murders is portrayed spectacularly by Hoffman. Capote, an admitted drug addict himself, whose death was also partly contributed to intoxicants, could not have been more appropriately cast.

Capote’s personal life made him one of America’s most controversial authors. A flamboyant homosexual, on top of being a drug addict and alcoholic, Capote was a target for the spotlight. His literally genius was almost overshadowed by his social life. But it was Capote’s troubled psyche that made him such a compassionate observer. Although he wrote only a handful of books, his ability to capture human spirit gave his novels instant success.

Capote did not shun the spotlight. In fact he did quite the contrary. Embracing his status among the elite and celebrating the success of In True Blood, Capote threw what some call the “Party of the Century”, The Black and White Ball. It was a considered to be “a pinnacle of New York’s social history”. But in 1975, when Capote published the first few chapter of a tell-all book in Esquire magazine detailing the intimate lives of his celebrity friends, he quickly found himself ostracized.

As ground-breaking as In Cold Blood was, Capotes breadth of work is so large that it would be wrong to pigeonhole him into one genre. Capote is responsible for literally masterpieces such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Other Voices, Other Rooms. His rare and collectable books are in constant demand. Due to Capote’s early celebrity, first printings of his published works were fairly large and signed copies are plentiful. This puts special importance on finding editions that are in prime condition. This is especially true with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, probably Capote’s most sought after title, due to its orange spine which easily fades. The play “House of Flower” used to be especially rare, but relatively inexpensive copies are now available to those who put in the effort to find one. The same is true for In Cold Blood. First printing, first edition copies are regularly found for under $100. Capote’s signature is rather simple, which makes it a target for forgers. If you are buying a signed copy, be sure it is from a reputable source, preferably from a dealer you know and trust. Certificates of Authenticity (CoA) may seem like a good idea on paper, but a reputable dealer, who does his research, would never sell a book with or without a CoA, that he has not verified as authentic.

 Article written for Raptis Rare Books, http://www.raptisrarebooks.com

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