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I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters

24 January 2013
Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... long name still ends in Benton and Bowles. That little rat, Jerzy R. Kosinski, thought Conrad was a good subject to bring up with him, but it didn’t interest him very much. All the while, host Bill Styron looking a bit subdued as usual these days; we talked about Randall Jarrell’s possible suicide, Bill’s own depression. And I talked to him about William James’s own breakdown and his ...

Terror on the Vineyard

Terry Castle: Boss Ladies, Watch Out!

15 April 1999
A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman 
by Rosemary Mahoney.
Doubleday, 273 pp., $23.95, November 1998, 9780385479318
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... arm across the convex bowl of her belly while the other lifted a cigarette to her lips. She smoked in a thoughtful, nibbling way, and when she paused to carry the cigarette to her mouth, her chin rose in preparation, as though someone else’s hand were feeding it to her. She looked vulnerable and girlish sitting there. She had large, flat thumbnails. I stared at her; no Eskimo icon could be more ...
4 September 1997
Out Of Me: The Story of a Postnatal Breakdown 
by Fiona Shaw.
Viking, 224 pp., £15.99, April 1997, 0 670 87104 4
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... and pickaxe.’ Her bent, she feels, is literary. She takes Elizabeth Bowen’s The Little Girls into the labour room with her (though she was not enjoying it), ‘slapping it down when a contraction rose, picking it up sweaty-fingered afterwards’, and finishing it shortly before her second daughter ‘appeared’. She and her husband read poems to each other in bed. Her house is full of books ...

Enemies For Ever

James Wolcott: ‘Making It’

17 May 2017
Making It 
by Norman Podhoretz.
NYRB, 368 pp., £13.98, May 2017, 978 1 68137 080 4
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... the slain president’s incandescent widow. A year or so earlier, Podhoretz had thrown a dinner party for Jackie Kennedy and not only was Mailer singularly not invited, his literary nemesis William Styron had been asked in his stead to entertain her highness. The Jackie Effect had the power to madden literary men’s minds in the post-Camelot 1960s and in later years Mailer conceded that there may ...

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