In Cold Blood

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 972

The Work

Illustration of PDF document

Download In Cold Blood Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Originally published as a four-part article in The New Yorker, In Cold Blood had made Truman Capote a millionaire and a national celebrity even before the book’s highly touted publication. Capote was fascinated by the mystery of the brutal, seemingly unmotivated 1959 murders of respected, prosperous Kansas farmer Herbert Clutter, his wife, Bonnie, and their two teen-age children, Nancy and Kenyon. Encouraged by New Yorker editor William Shawn, Capote followed the case for years, living in Kansas much of the time, interviewing scores of people (at first accompanied by his friend, the novelist Harper Lee), and eventually becoming confidant to Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, the two men convicted of the murders, as they waited on death row during a series of appeals. Capote became especially close to Smith, whose lonely childhood, physical self-consciousness, and artistic aspirations resonated with the writer. Published serially just months after the executions of Smith and Hickock, Capote’s project had accumulated unprecedented interest, partly because of its sensational subject matter but also because of Capote’s established literary reputation, his personal flamboyance, and his widely publicized claims that he was creating a paradoxical new literary form, the nonfiction novel. In 1967, Pax Enterprises/Columbia produced a film adaptation of In Cold Blood that closely follows Capote’s narrative design, his interest in the psychological makeup of the criminals (especially Smith), and his commitment to realism (director Richard Brooks even staged the murder scene at the Clutter’s home). However, the film omits much of Capote’s close, almost anthropological attention to the Clutter family’s small-town life, focusing instead on the flight and subsequent capture, trial, and execution of Hickock and Smith. As in the novel, the film waits until deep into the narrative to present the Clutter murders, which are “recalled” by Smith as a testimonial flashback. In contrast to Capote’s subtle rhetorical stance, Brooks adds the character of a reporter, who operates as the film’s conscience, questioning the morality of capital punishment, thus making explicit the implied irony of the title.

Impact

Although described as nonfiction on trade lists, In Cold Blood won the 1966 Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe Award. Capote’s precise methods would be almost impossible to replicate—he claimed a self-taught ability to recall and thus transcribe, with nearly perfect accuracy, hours of interview material and insisted that he had constructed his novel exclusively from observed or recorded detail—but his interest in blurred genres was shared by other novelists, journalists, and filmmakers committed to exploring American social life in new ways. Capote’s aggressive self-promotion and extravagant literary claims fostered a situation in which the use of fictional techniques in nonfiction forms and the ethics of making art (and money) from murder could be debated. The strong sense of “two Americas” that characterized In Cold Blood became emblematic of an increasingly polarized nation, split apart by suspicion, intolerance, and violence.

The film version of In Cold Blood was more revision than experiment, a solid, capably produced studio film in content reminiscent of the earnest social problem films of the 1950’s, driven by psychological explanation and liberal argument (in this case, against capital punishment), and in form characterized by moody, highly stylized black-and- white photography evocative of 1940’s film noir. Although sufficiently admired to have been nominated for four major Academy Awards—Brooks, for both Director and Original Screenplay; Conrad Hall, for Cinematography and Quincy Jones, for Original Musical Score—the film received none and was overshadowed in 1967 by another story of a criminal couple loosely based on fact: the more popular, more violent, more radical, and thus far more controversial Bonnie and Clyde. In Cold Blood did launch the careers of a pair of talented, previously unknown young actors, Scott Wilson (Hickock) and Robert Blake (Smith), who portrayed, with sensitivity and imagination, the two damaged, ruthless men who intrigued Capote and much of the nation in the mid-1960’s.

Related Work

In Armies of the Night (1968), Norman Mailer offers his version of a fact-based literary experiment, labeling the form novel-as-history, history-as-novel. Although personally antagonistic and publicly dismissive of each other’s work, Mailer and Capote nevertheless shared many goals.

Bibliography

Clarke, Gerald. Capote: A Biography, 1988.

Garson, Helen S. Truman Capote. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1980. Chiefly valuable as a survey, almost a paraphrase, of Capote’s literary works, including In Cold Blood, prefaced by a brief look at Capote’s life.

Hollowell, John. Fact and Fiction: The New Journalism and the Nonfiction Novel, 1977.

Inge, M. Thomas, ed. Truman Capote: Conversations, 1987.

Malin, Irving, ed. Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”: A Critical Handbook. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 1968. A compendium of articles that focuses on In Cold Blood and critical reaction to the novel. Includes articles that place In Cold Blood in the context of Capote’s other works. Of special interest is George Plimpton’s interview with Capote; the interview gives excellent perspective to Capote’s novel and literary intent, his relationship to the events and people in the book, and how he worked the material into what he calls a “nonfiction novel.”

Nance, William L. The Worlds of Truman Capote. Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.: Stein and Day, 1970. Two chapters are devoted to In Cold Blood, the first chapter placing the novel in Capote’s career, the second chapter offering a critical study of the novel.

Reed, Kenneth T. Truman Capote. Boston: Twayne, 1981. Surveys Capote’s short fiction, novels, and efforts at reportage, which include work on In Cold Blood. Reed ends with a study of Capote’s style, his themes, and the influences on his writing.

Stanton, Robert J. Truman Capote: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1980. Very helpful annotations accompany the lists of works about Capote and his writings. Extremely thorough.

Zavarzadeh, Mas’ud. The Mythopoeic Reality: The Postwar American Nonfiction Novel, 1976.

Form and Content

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 483

On November 16, 1959, the bloody corpses of Herbert, Bonnie, Nancy, and Kenyon Clutter were discovered in their Holcomb, Kansas, farmhouse. Herbert Clutter had been a prominent and prosperous member of that rural community, and the gruesome murders of the upstanding Methodist farmer, his wife, and two of their four children shocked the Midwest. It was a crime without any apparent motive, and it was not until January that the murderers, two parolees named Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, were arrested.

Truman Capote, renowned for his Southern gothic fiction and for his eccentric personality, read about the Clutter massacre in New York and determined to write about it. Commissioned by The New Yorker and Random House to report on the case, he was in Kansas within a few days of the murders, trying to learn as much as he could about the victims, the crime, the criminals, and the larger social and legal context into which the events fit. Capote stayed with the story for five and a half years—through the apprehension of the killers, their trial, and their execution. He conducted extensive interviews with a wide variety of people connected, however remotely, with the case. By the time he began writing, he had accumulated six thousand pages of notes.

The result was In Cold Blood, a book that Capote labeled with the oxymoron “nonfiction novel” and to which he gave the subtitle A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences. In Cold Blood was published in January, 1966, less than nine months after Smith and Hickock were hanged. The following year, it was adapted for film by director Richard Brooks. Capote’s book became an enormous commercial and critical success, remaining on the best-seller list for more than a year and inspiring the devotion of scholars and imitators, who hailed it as a classic in a new hybrid genre of narrative (later labeled “New Journalism” by Tom Wolfe) that joined the formal satisfactions of fiction with the urgency of actuality. It remains Capote’s major achievement as a writer.

In Cold Blood begins by setting the stage on the high, bare plains of western Kansas. Almost in the manner of Greek tragedy, it crosscuts between the activities of the Clutters and of the two parolees until they converge, inevitably and violently. The book is organized into four sections: “The Last to See Them Alive” recounts the crime itself; “Persons Unknown” juxtaposes the frustrated investigators and the extensive travels of the murderers across the United States and into Mexico; “Answer” relates how Smith and Hickock are finally apprehended; and “The Corner,” which functions as a narrative coda, summarizes the trial, imprisonment, and execution of the two killers. While it offers the shape and textures of a nineteenth century naturalistic novel, In Cold Blood presents itself with the authority of a “true account,” susceptible to verification by sources outside the author’s fertile imagination.

Places Discussed

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 533

*Garden City

*Garden City. Seat of Kansas’s Finney County on the high wheat plains of Western Kansas. Here upright Herbert Clutter headed the building committee for the newly completed First Methodist Church. Capote reminds his reader that they are in “the ‘Bible Belt,’ that gospel-haunted strip of American territory in which a man must, if only for business reasons, take his religion with the straightest of faces.” This idyllic setting has caused many readers to believe Capote’s book is evoking the Christian story of the Fall in the Garden (City) of Eden, with Hickock and Smith as the snakes, that is, as infiltrating evil.

*Holcomb

*Holcomb. Village of 270 people near Garden City, outside of which the Clutters reside on River Valley Farm, a spread of eight hundred acres owned outright by Herbert Clutter, with three thousand more acres farmed on a rental basis. Clutter calls the river valley “Eden on earth.”

Open Road

Open Road. In Cold Blood is structured in four sections, and the central two—“Persons Unknown” and “Answer”—detail Hickock and Smith’s flight following the Clutter murders and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s pursuit of the men across the United States and into Mexico. During his six years of research, Capote retraced every step of the killers’ seven-thousand-mile flight, beginning in Kansas City, where Hickock bounces bank checks, and moving through Oklahoma, Texas, Mexico, California’s Mojave Desert, Nevada, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, back to Kansas City (where Hickock writes more bad checks), Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and through Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada, where they are arrested in Las Vegas on December 30 and returned to the Garden City jail. Capote’s treatment of Hickock and Smith’s hapless and circuitous flight seems to imply the end of America’s open road as a symbol of escape and new beginning.

*Leavenworth Penitentiary

*Leavenworth Penitentiary. Kansas prison in whose “Death Row” Smith and Hickock are held following their conviction for the Clutter murders. Death Row is “a dark two-storied building shaped like a coffin” from which Smith and Hickock can view the execution chamber, called “the corner.” In titling the novel’s final section “The Corner,” Capote alludes to this literal place name, yet he also implies that Smith and Hickock are “cornered,” trapped by a criminal justice system that refuses to accept the psychological testimony of the two men, a system of capital punishment that murders Smith and Hickock “in cold blood.”

*Kansas

*Kansas. Capote states in the opening lines of his volume that “the village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there.’” He goes on to say that “the countryside, with its hard blue skies and desert-clear air, has an atmosphere that is rather more Far Western than Middle West.” This opening and many other details have spurred some readers to interpret this novel as a reverse Western, that is, a tale of Indian revenge, for Perry Smith is half Cherokee. However one reads the novel, one is left with the author’s final haunting image of “the big sky, [and] the whisper of wind voices in the wind-bent wheat.”

Historical Context

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 448

National Anxiety
In the 1950s, with the start of the Korean War and Senator McCarthy's purging of Communists from all areas of American life, the possible infiltration by ‘‘the other’’ caused a national panic and hysteria. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of espionage and executed in a symbolic gesture of alleviating this anxiety and purging the nation of its intruders and traitors. Unlike Hickock and Smith, the Rosenbergs turned out to be innocent; like them, however, they were killed to restore a sense of order and fulfill a sense of retribution.

Anti-Establishment and Counterculture Movements
In the wake of the Korean War and McCarthyism, concern about the consequences of blind conformity and false American values spawned anti-establishment movements in politics, art, and literature. It was during the 1950s that the Beatnik, or Beat generation, writers published seminal works such as "Howl" by Allen Ginsburg and On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Beat signified literal fatigue, a sense of being beaten down, tired, and worn out. In the 1960s, the anti-establishment movements evolved into more severe counterculture movements in everything from changes in popular music, to open drug use and the sexual revolution. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the United States' entry into the Vietnam conflict fed the anti-government sentiment and disillusionment.

Disruption increased as national borders changed rapidly; American involvement in overseas conflicts increased; and space emerged as the final frontier. The desire to maintain closer, tighter borders within communities, political camps, and racial groups intensified. The increase of communism outside American borders mirrored the perceived increase of different and more vocal religious, gender, racial, and socioeconomic groups, which threatened the status quo. Women and different racial groups protested for equal rights and protection from discrimination, sparking a backlash. Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965, not by a white supremacist, but by an African-American who disagreed with him.

New Journalism
New Journalism was developed in the 1960s and 1970s in reaction to the ostensibly objective, but sensationalized, tabloid news that was becoming the norm. This new style of writing was an attempt to give objective facts greater meaning by incorporating literary elements into journalistic reporting of documented research. To preserve the quality of the times, these writers, according to Belinda Carberry of the Yale Teachers' Institute, wanted to "record and evaluate history by keeping language and attitudes closely attuned and responsive to the style of events.'' New Journalism did not claim to be a more legitimate or realistic form of reporting; rather, as Carberry says, they acknowledged that ‘‘neither objective or interpretive reporting [was] in close touch with reality.’’ Capote joined these new ranks of "interpretive reporters'' with his nonfiction novel In Cold Blood.

Literary Style

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 637

Foreshadowing
Capote points out fatalistic and ominous clues from the Clutters' last days. The Bible next to Bonnie Clutter's bed is marked at the passage, ‘‘Take ye heed, watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is.’’ Herb Clutter takes out a forty-thousand-dollar life insurance policy, which pays double indemnity in the case of murder. Well-known for not carrying cash, Herb Clutter also does not keep a safe containing ten thousand dollars in the house, although the killers think he does. The family dog is gun-shy. Even Hickock and Smith's plans seem ill-fated from the start; Smith tears the glove that they plan to use during the robbery, which seems highly unlucky to him.

Symbolism
The symbols in the text serve largely to detail the persona and interior life of Perry Smith. From childhood, Smith has dreams in which a large yellow bird, ‘‘taller than Jesus,’’ rescues him from his abusers, pecks out their eyes and kills them, and then, "enfolding him,'' the bird carries him away to paradise. The figure of the avenging "warrior angel" is both biblically allegorical and reminiscent of maternal and vigilante themes. On the ride from Las Vegas as he is being extradited back to Kansas, Smith "contemplates...the carcasses of shotgunned coyotes festooning ranch fences.’’ The corpses were hung there to scare away other coyotes, sacrificed to maintain the security of the ranch's livestock, much as Hickock and Smith, while guilty, will be killed and held up as an example to reestablish a sense of security in Holcomb and, it is hoped, to deter other criminals.

The appropriateness of this symbol is further confirmed later in Smith's autobiographical report, in which he characterizes himself in childhood running around ‘‘wild and free as a coyote.’’ From his prison window, Smith spies two tomcats scouting the grilles of automobiles parked along the square. The sheriff's wife informs him that the tomcats are prowling for birds and other roadkill stuck to the grilles, which they scavenge as a means of survival. Smith says, "most of my life, I've done what they're doing,’’ and is unable to watch them further. Smith's self-image as a feral creature surviving on the scraps of others' lives is no doubt enraging to him. Smith also develops ‘‘bubbles in his blood'' whenever he is angry, afraid, or nervous; although the bubbles are probably a physiological phenomenon as well, the symbolic manifestation of rage literally boiling his blood is a powerful one.

Verisimilitude
Capote succeeds in delivering the portraits of smalltown camaraderie; a model family; and indifferent, shiftless criminals—with photographic accuracy. He includes an amazing amount of everyday details, from what Herb Clutter eats for breakfast to Hickock's drink of choice to Agent Dewey's wife's avocado stuffing. The exact and intricate manner in which Capote chronicles both the people and events of his narrative is a successful example of what George Steiner calls "rigorously documentary material'' applied to fiction. The documentary-style realism is enhanced by Capote's often poetic and lyrical language.

Motifs
The repetition of character-specific motifs unites the four sections of the book, providing textual reminders of Smith's and Hickock's natures. Smith's crippled legs, his childhood abuse, his avenging dream-bird, and his boxes of mementos recur at continuous intervals to remind the reader of his misfit status, as well as his sentimentality and surprising abilities. Hickock's tattoos, ‘‘serpentine eye,’’ heavy drinking, and relentless sexual impulse suggest a morally indifferent and vulgar nature, one that is comfortable breaking or upsetting societal taboos. The dark, open road is a motif associated with Smith and Hickock, symbolizing not only their travels in life, but their path to and away from the Clutters and toward their own deaths. The towns along these roads are similar in appearance and offerings, but vastly different from the insular, wholesome, pastoral atmosphere of Holcomb.

Literary Techniques

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 414

The most obvious technique in In Cold Blood is the journalistic one. After his first fiction was published Capote turned to journalism for money and because it interested him as an art form. With In Cold Blood he was ready to impose the structures of fiction onto a factual event. During the 1950s he had published a number of nonfiction pieces, most notably The Muses Are Heard (1956) for which he was criticized for being possibly less than objective. Of course he wasn't objective.

The whole tour is seen through his sly, glittering eyes. That was his achievement. Just as painting and avant-garde literature were becoming self-referential, so was Capote's version of journalism. Readers are never unaware of the reporter's presence. He does not pretend to an objectivity that probably never existed in the first place. His view of the Soviet Union is a highly personal one and no less true for its subjectivity. In many ways it seems more "true" than supposed objective reportage (whose objectivity is governed by the tastes and historical prejudices of the culture it springs from) because of its intimacy.

With In Cold Blood he abandoned the techniques of subjective reportage and adopted an objective tone. He returned to the style he rebelled against and tried to erase himself from the text. To some extent he succeeded. The book is a tonal success. It reads like fact. But as objective reportage it fails, yet this failure is what ultimately makes the book more of an artistic success. It fails because Capote allowed himself to become fascinated by Perry Smith and what he represents. But Smith's domination of the book is finally what saves it as art.

The book also makes striking use of cinematic technique. Capote cuts from the Clutters to their killers, giving simultaneous narratives. The sections on the murderers coil like a snake around those of the Clutters. The black Chevy the killers drive takes on the aspect of a hearse. Capote uses flashback and fast-forward to great effect. In fact, part of the book's success as a story can be attributed to his imaginative use of cinematic techniques. They help put the suspense back into a story where readers already know the ending.

What Capote does in his nonfiction novel is not unlike what painters of the period were doing: appropriating. Just as Andy Warhol and others were appropriating images from the culture to make a new art, so did Capote. The Clutter tragedy was his, "ready-made."

Social Concerns

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 291

Some would say that Capote's novel had no social concerns, that it succeeded in being a mere presentation of gruesome facts. There is ample evidence for this kind of evaluation, the "just-the-facts, ma'am" tone that pervades the novel for example. Yet even seen in this light Capote provided a valuable, detailed document of how the American police force and legal system work. The actual murders take up very little of the book's almost four hundred pages. Most of the book concerns itself with the search for, trial of and execution of the murderers. Readers are privy to the exhaustion, banality, frustration and luck that are part of a police investigation. Readers wait with the prisoners through their trial, their appeals, their psychiatric evaluations, their lives on death row. Readers wait for them to die.

Capote's book is also valuable as a document of the lives of marginal people, particularly in its handling of Perry Smith. One sees firsthand how a person of Perry's murderous capabilities is formed. Poor, abused, uneducated as a child, drifting from parent to institution to parent, and finally just drifting, one watches a person who is not taught how to integrate into society as a child and consequently who has no skills to do so as an adult. The tragedy of Perry's life is that there is no place for him, there never will be, and he cannot accept it. By the end of the book readers come to understand his rage. Capote does much to explain Perry's life as he bears witness to it. He tells it like a parable without a moral. And he reminds one that Perry is not an isolated example by sprinkling the book with characters effectively disinherited by America — potential Perrys.

Compare and Contrast

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 233

1960s: The United States Supreme Court strikes down capital punishment laws as unconstitutional; a national moratorium on executions follows. Murder is the most common crime for which criminals are sent to Death Row. At this point, only ten states have no capital punishment laws on the books. From 1930 to 1967, 3,800 people are executed.

Today: States have changed their capital punishment laws to fit the high court's revised constitutional requirements. Twelve states have no capital punishment laws, and far fewer criminals are executed: from 1977 to 1999, a total of 598 people are put-to-death by the state.

1960s: The use of an insanity plea relies on the successful application of the M'Naughten Rule, which states that the defendant is legally insane if the defendant did not know, at the time of the crime, the nature of the act or that it was wrong.

Today: The M'Naughten Rule has been replaced by the more complex and psychologically refined Moral Penal Code, which states that, among other tests, the defendant is legally insane if he or she does not have the capacity to differentiate between right and wrong.

1960s: As an outgrowth of new journalism, nonfiction novels begin to become popular. Capote claims to have invented this new literary genre with In Cold Blood, which documents and dramatizes a crime.

Today: One of the most popular and established genres, the true crime novel is a legitimate category of reportage writing.

Literary Precedents

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 240

Capote would have said there were no literary precedents for his book. AH his life he felt he had not been given his due for inventing a new form. Certainly the New Journalism and writers like Norman Mailer owe Capote a debt. Yet critics cite John Hersey's Hiroshima (1946) and Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy (1925), among others, as precursors to Capote's experiment. Still the books they point to are different in form from Capote's. They are either clearly novels based on real events or they are clearly journalism told novelistically. If Capote's story had been a simple recitation of the facts, it would have been journalism plain and simple. But he did not stop there. Capote tells a story in which every detail is factual (well almost; there is some minor dispute about this among critics). But he is not simply reporting a story through novelistic technique. He is talking about the dream of America and how that dream manifests itself in individual lives. The Clutter tragedy is Capote's metaphor. John Hersey's Hiroshima, although it uses novelistic devices, is about the bombing of Hiroshima. It is journalism. Dreiser's book is a novel based on fact. Capote's book is neither of these. Perhaps it is not quite the breakthrough Capote felt it was. It is not as great nor as radical as what James Joyce did. But it was new. It was different. There had never been anything quite like it before.

Adaptations

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 157

In his 1967 adaptation of In Cold Blood for the screen, director Peter Brooks tried to attain the hyperrealism of the book by actually filming the movie at the scene of the crime in Holcomb, Kansas. He felt the story was the American equivalent of Greek tragedy and the movie is certainly ambitious in feeling and intent. Capote has said that the film's star Robert Blake was eerily like Perry Smith, even physically. When the film was made Capote said it was one of two adaptations of his work that he liked, the other being The Thanksgiving Visitor. The film was a popular and critical success, though true to form there were a few major critics who disliked it. Other adaptations of Capote's work include the 1961 film, Breakfast at Tiffany's, which differed considerably from the original work. Starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, and Patricia Neal, this film was generally well received by both the critics and the public.

Media Adaptations

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 166

In Cold Blood is the 1967 feature film, written and directed by Richard Brooks and starring two unknowns, Robert Blake and Scott Wilson, as the murderers, with music by Quincy Jones. Capote was heavily involved in the making of this film, and it endures as a faithful retelling of the book.

In Cold Blood is a 1996 TV-miniseries remake of Richard Brooks' film version, directed by Jonathan Kaplan and starring Anthony Edwards and Eric Roberts as Hickock and Smith.

Murder in Cold Blood is a 1998 documentary about the Clutter murders, which includes police photos, interviews with lawmen who worked on the case, and audio from Hickock's confession.

In 1994, composer Mikel Rouse wrote a musical theater piece entitled, ","Failing Kansas with a libretto comprising language from the actual testimony at the trial and transcripts of interviews. Trying to portray intentions of the story through sound, he presented the conflicting voices in counterpoint, in a technique of vocal writing he called "counterpoetry." It debuted at the Kitchen in New York.

Bibliography and Further Reading

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 349

Sources
Baughman, Ronald, ‘‘Literary Perspectives on Murder,’’ in ALSA Forum, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1982.

Carberry, Belinda, Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, http://130.132.143.21/ynhti/curriculum/units/1983/4/83.04.05. x.html (December 12, 2000).

Conniff, Brian, '‘‘Psychological Accidents': In Cold Blood and Ritual Sacrifice,’’ in Midwest Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 1, Autumn 1993.

Dupee, Frederick, Review in New York Review of Books, February 3, 1966, p. 3.

Galloway, David, ‘‘Real Toads in Real Gardens: Reflections on the Art of Non-Fiction Fiction and the Legacy of Truman Capote,’’ in The Critical Response to Truman Capote, edited by Joseph J. Waldmeir and John C. Waldmeir, Greenwood Press, 1999, pp. 143-154.

Garson, Helen S., "Acts of Darkness: In Cold Blood,'' in her Truman Capote, Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., Inc., 1980, pp. 141-164.

Hendin, Josephine, ‘‘Angries: SM as a Literary Style,’’ in Harper's Magazine, Vol. 248, No. 1485, February 1974, pp. 87-93.

Kauffmann, Stanley, Review in New Republic, January 22, 1966, p. 19.

Phillips, William, Review in Commentary, May 1966, p. 77.

Poirer, Richard, ‘‘In Cold Ink: Truman Capote,’’ in Trying It Out America: Literary and Other Performances, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1999, pp. 218-225.

Further Reading
Capote, Truman, A Capote Reader, Random House, 1987.
Capote provides an introduction to his writing, short stories, nonfiction articles, and excerpts from novels, excluding In Cold Blood.

Plimpton, George, Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances, and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career, Doubleday, 1997.
In this flashy, gossipy biography culled from interviews, Plimpton, a high-society member of the literati himself, chronicles Capote from his early days as a new writer, through the glory days following In Cold Blood, to his last years as an exaggerated version of the figure he was.

Rudisill, Marie, Truman Capote: The Story of His Bizarre and Exotic Boyhood by an Aunt Who Helped Raise Him, Morrow, 1983.
Capote was sent to live with this branch of his mother's family, in Alabama, when he was a child. Here he met his significantly older cousin, Sook, who would become his favorite caretaker.

Waldmeir, Joseph J., and Waldmeir, John C., eds., The Critical Response to Truman Capote, Greenwood Press, 1999.
This collection of literary criticism on the body of Capote's work amasses articles from periodicals from the 1950s through the 1990s.

Bibliography

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 274

Clarke, Gerald. Capote: A Biography, 1988.

Garson, Helen S. Truman Capote. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1980. Chiefly valuable as a survey, almost a paraphrase, of Capote’s literary works, including In Cold Blood, prefaced by a brief look at Capote’s life.

Hollowell, John. Fact and Fiction: The New Journalism and the Nonfiction Novel, 1977.

Inge, M. Thomas, ed. Truman Capote: Conversations, 1987.

Malin, Irving, ed. Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”: A Critical Handbook. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 1968. A compendium of articles that focuses on In Cold Blood and critical reaction to the novel. Includes articles that place In Cold Blood in the context of Capote’s other works. Of special interest is George Plimpton’s interview with Capote; the interview gives excellent perspective to Capote’s novel and literary intent, his relationship to the events and people in the book, and how he worked the material into what he calls a “nonfiction novel.”

Nance, William L. The Worlds of Truman Capote. Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.: Stein and Day, 1970. Two chapters are devoted to In Cold Blood, the first chapter placing the novel in Capote’s career, the second chapter offering a critical study of the novel.

Reed, Kenneth T. Truman Capote. Boston: Twayne, 1981. Surveys Capote’s short fiction, novels, and efforts at reportage, which include work on In Cold Blood. Reed ends with a study of Capote’s style, his themes, and the influences on his writing.

Stanton, Robert J. Truman Capote: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1980. Very helpful annotations accompany the lists of works about Capote and his writings. Extremely thorough.

Zavarzadeh, Mas’ud. The Mythopoeic Reality: The Postwar American Nonfiction Novel, 1976.

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-hour free trial
Previous

Characters

Next

Critical Essays

Explore Study Guides