Truman Capote

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Capote, Truman

(käpō`tē), 1924–84, American author, b. New Orleans as Truman Streckfus Persons. During his lifetime, the witty, diminutive writer was a well-known public personage, hobnobbing with the rich and famous and frequently appearing in the popular media, before he lapsed into alcoholism in his final years. Capote's fiction reflects a private, imaginative world of narcissistic yet strangely innocent people. Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948), his first novel and a classic Southern Gothic, is the story of a young boy's painful search for identity. His other works include a gentle autobiographical novel, The Grass Harp (1951); a collection of short stories, Tree of Night (1949); the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958); a report of his trip to Russia with the cast of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, The Muses Are Heard (1956); the musical House of Flowers (1954); and two collections of nonfiction pieces, The Dogs Bark (1973) and Music for Chameleons (1980). In 1966, Capote published his "nonfiction novel," In Cold Blood, a chilling account of the senseless, brutal murder of a Kansas family that is widely considered his finest work. Fragments of his last major book, the unfinished Unanswered Prayers, were collected in 1990. The Complete Stories of Truman Capote was published in 2004.


See N. T. Inge, ed., Truman Capote: Conversations (1987); L. Grobel, Conversations with Capote (1985, repr. 2000); G. Clarke, ed., Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote (2004); memoirs by D. Windham (1983), J. M. Brinnin (1986), and J. Dunphy (1987); biographies by G. Clarke (1988), G. Plimpton (1997), and W. T. Schultz (2011); studies by H. S. Garson (1980 and 1992), K. T. Reed (1981), J. J. and J. C. Waldmeir, ed. (1999), and H. Bloom, ed. (2003).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Capote, Truman


Born Sept. 30, 1924, in New Orleans. American writer.

Capote began his literary career writing screenplays and short stories. The theme of his novel Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948) is man’s loneliness in the modern bourgeois world. Capote further developed this theme in his later works: the collections A Tree of Night (1949; some stories translated into Russian, 1967) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958; some stories translated into Russian, 1965) and the short novel The Grass Harp (1953; Russian translation, 1966). These works are characterized by lyricism, stylistic mastery, and close psychological insight. In 1965, Capote published the journalistic novel In Cold Blood (Russian translation, 1966), which sought to reflect the burning issues of reality by uncovering the social and psychological roots of crime. He received an O. Henry Award in 1946, 1948, and 1951.


The Thanksgiving Visitor. New York, 1968.
In Russian translation:
Odin iz putei v rai. Moscow, 1967.
Golosa travy. Moscow, 1971.


Lidskii, Iu. Ia. Ocherki oh amerikanskikh pisateliakh XX v. Kiev, 1968.
Truman Capotes “In Cold Blood”: A Critical Handbook. Belmont, Calif., 1968. (Bibliography, pp. 239–69.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Capote, Truman (b. Truman Persons)

(1924–84) writer; born in New Orleans. He took his stepfather's surname in childhood. A high school dropout, he came to New York City in 1942 and worked for awhile as an office boy at The New Yorker. His first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948), launched a literary career that peaked with his innovative "nonfiction novel" In Cold Blood (1966). Resident in New York and Switzerland, he cultivated celebrity and was famous in later years for his jetsetting lifestyle as well as his writing.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.