Truman Capote’s Unfinished Novel “Answered Prayers”: On the History of Creation and Publication
- УДК / UDK: 82.0
- Author: Denis Zakharov
- About the author:
Denis Zakharov (Ph.D. in History, freelance researcher, Moscow, Russia) deonis.
Truman Capote’s novel Answered Prayers, the most controversial work by the American writer, remained unfinished and was published posthumously in 1987 in the USA. The article reconstructing the history of its creation is timed to the first Russian publication of the novel (AST publishing house, June 2019, transl. by Ekaterina Romanova). Capote’s novel was conceived as a roman á clef; the paper cites the names of the writers who influenced Capote and his Café Society literary project. New archival findings – a fragment from an unpublished Capote’s letter to the literary critic Arvin Newton referring to the acquaintance of the writer with Mikhail Lermontov’s works – become the starting point for the investigation of the possible influence that Mikhail Lermontov’s novel A Hero of Our Time could have exerted on Capote’s concept of the “dark comedy about the rich and the famous”, and his narrator P.B. Jones that can be compared to Lermontov’s Grigory Pechorin. Proceeding from various sources the article analyses the publication of excerpts from Answered Prayers in the Esquire magazine in 1975-1976, testimonies of people who became archetypes of Capote’s characters, and critical response to Capote’s work. The final part of the paper is devoted to the negative consequences of the publication: it caused the writer’s depression and forced him to stop working on the novel. The paper also sheds light on the missing parts of the Answered Prayers manuscript.
- Keywords: Truman Capote, American literature, Answered Prayers, Arvin Newton, Mikhail Lermontov, A Hero of Our Time, Pechorin, archetypes, P.B. Jones, Esquire magazine.
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