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7 November 1985
Savage Grace 
by Natalie Robins and Steven Aronson.
Gollancz, 473 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 575 03738 5
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... biographical notes presumably contributed by themselves (if alive) like the entries in Who’s Who. There are some known names: Cecil Beaton, Jasper Johns, James Jones, John Mortimer, Patricia Neal, WilliamStyron, Andy Warhol. Among the rest are antique dealers, decorators, magazine editors, a ‘freelance music co-ordinator for fashion shows’, a princess ‘internationally concerned with matters of ...
8 November 1979
The Pornographer 
by John McGahern.
Faber, 252 pp., £4.95
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... WilliamStyron is reported as defending the sexual activity in his recent Sophie’s Choice on the grounds that ‘the battle to write explicitly about sex was fought long and hard. We must never begin to surrender ...

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 ...
21 March 1991
Warrenpoint 
by Denis Donoghue.
Cape, 193 pp., £12.99, March 1991, 0 224 03084 1
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Darkness Visible 
by William Styron.
Cape, 84 pp., £8.99, March 1991, 0 224 03045 0
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... people who express shock at the least trace of anti-semitism’ – which distracts from the thought that anti-semitism has been, among other things, Christian. ‘I could never understand how William Empson, a poet and critic I revere, could hate Christians and especially Catholics, thinking their religion nothing but a sordid cult of blood and sacrifice. Christ’s blood was the form of his own ...
24 July 1986
Truth and Lies in Literature: Reviews and Essays 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 399 pp., £12.95, June 1986, 0 241 11805 0
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In Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of A.V. 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 192 pp., £8.95, February 1985, 0 241 11378 4
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... There is nothing enigmatic about Stephen Vizinczey. He has views, he shouts, cajoles, threatens and sneers. He worships Kleist and Stendhal, loathes WilliamStyron and Sainte-Beuve, is conspicuously silent about Flaubert and seems to have a love-hate relationship with Nabokov. He delights in summoning up his rhetoric of loathing for the Nazis and the Mafia and ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: New New Grub Street

3 February 1983
... wife moved to a house on Main Street in which they were to entertain many literary visitors. A Sunday supper they gave in 1957, for example, was attended by Norman Mailer, Katherine Anne Porter and WilliamStyron.’ The authors call people who want to know this kind of thing ‘literary travellers’ and they plead that such travellers have in the past been handicapped by the lack of a guidebook that ...

Living It

Andrew O’Hagan: The World of Andy McNab

24 January 2008
Crossfire 
by Andy McNab.
Bantam, 414 pp., £17.99, October 2007, 978 1 84413 535 6
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Strike Back 
by Chris Ryan.
Century, 314 pp., £17.99, October 2007, 978 1 84413 535 6
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... soldier who dreams of his typewriter. Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon are a staple of the National Curriculum, and Evelyn Waugh saw the possibility of comedy in the matter before anybody else, his William Boot a writer keen to make the rat-tat-tat of his typewriter fall into sync with the sound of gunfire over the hill. In America, a season in France or a period in the foothills of Spain was once ...

Full of Hell

Fatema Ahmed: James Salter

5 February 2004
Cassada 
by James Salter.
Harvill, 208 pp., £10.99, August 2003, 1 86046 925 6
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Light Years 
by James Salter.
Vintage, 320 pp., £6.99, August 2003, 0 09 945022 4
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... In his memoir, Burning the Days (1997), James Salter tells a story about an encounter between William Faulkner and an officer from the local airbase in Greenville, Mississippi in the early 1950s. They talk of the excitement of flying, and Faulkner drunkenly reminisces about his days as a pilot in ...

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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... floridly racist vocabulary (‘she was always saying Chink and Jap and nigger, which in Pentimento she claimed she would never say’); her cheating at Scrabble (during games with her neighbour Rose Styron she routinely peeks at Styron’s letters whenever Styron leaves the room); the malicious remarks she makes about friends and houseguests as soon as they are out of earshot (Joseph Alsop, she tells ...
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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... some sort of licence. She reads literary accounts of breakdowns, looking for ‘allies’; and compares herself to Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Margery Kempe, WilliamStyron. Significantly, the book she finds most helpful is The Words to Say It by Marie Cardinal, an account of her breakdown which Cardinal has since admitted to making up. It doesn’t matter, Shaw says ...
24 March 1994
Cigarettes Are Sublime 
by Richard Klein.
Duke, 210 pp., £19.95, February 1994, 0 8223 1401 0
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... since have shown ... brought them back to their admiring compatriots’. A chapter on war, in which the author follows the glow in the dark across the work of several novelists – Remarque, Mailer, WilliamStyron, Hemingway – confirms this. ‘I have noted all the cigarettes that are crushed out, thrown away or unlit at night, shared and hoarded, detested and loved – instruments of torture and ...

Imaginary Homelands

Salman Rushdie

7 October 1982
... of experience, and extraordinary imaginative feats dealing with themes which the author has been obliged to approach from the outside. (Just one example of this latter category: Sophie’s Choice, by WilliamStyron, a book which seems wholly to justify its use of Auschwitz, even though Styron is not a Jew, let alone a survivor of the Holocaust.) Literature is not in the business of copyrighting certain ...

The Last Witness

Colm Tóibín: The career of James Baldwin

20 September 2001
... and smart, who was from Harlem but had developed other perspectives, and whose first novel, in its treatment of religion and a Harlem only barely understood south of 125th Street, was compared to William James and William Faulkner. In Paris in 1950 Baldwin had read A Portrait of the Artist and its hero’s story was not lost on him. The need to do battle with religion and his own oppressed nation ...

Just like Mother

Theo Tait: Richard Yates

6 February 2003
Collected Stories 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 474 pp., £17.99, January 2002, 0 413 77125 3
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Revolutionary Road 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 346 pp., £6.99, February 2001, 0 413 75710 2
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The Easter Parade 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 226 pp., £10, January 2003, 0 413 77202 0
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... the alcoholic single mother, realising that her Jewish neighbour despises her, unleashes an anti-semitic tirade. With Revolutionary Road, many of his contemporaries – including Kurt Vonnegut and WilliamStyron – felt that he did something comparable for an entire generation; that he saw the cracks in the 1950s. In 1956, William H. Whyte Jr, a Fortune magazine journalist and Max Weber fan ...

In His Pink Negligée

Colm Tóibín: The Ruthless Truman Capote

21 April 2005
The Complete Stories 
by Truman Capote.
Random House, 400 pp., $24.95, September 2004, 0 679 64310 9
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Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote 
edited by Gerald Clarke.
Random House, 487 pp., $27.95, September 2004, 0 375 50133 9
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... so much time with and energy on. In 1975, he loved them so much that he wrote a vicious piece for Esquire, part of a work in progress, in which they were easy to recognise. ‘It seemed to me,’ WilliamStyron wrote, ‘an act of willed destruction.’ Even Norman Mailer thought it was ‘not even bold, but rash’. They never had anything to do with him again. He had cut their throats, so to speak ...

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