Truman Capote was born Truman Streckfus Persons, later taking on the name of his adopted Cuban father, Joe Capote, when his mother remarried. Truman Capote's homosexuality was a major source of contention between him and his mother. During his teenage years, she would often become violent toward him when drunk.Continue Reading
From a young age, Capote was interested in writing, as well as pursuing a vocation as a writer. As a child, he would spend time writing at the family typewriter. His English teacher, Catherine Wood, was among the first to encourage his talent.
Capote was fired from his first job as a copy boy for the New Yorker because he walked out of a poetry reading by Robert Frost.
His friends and acquaintances included such luminaries as Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy. Even so, Capote often felt underappreciated during his lifetime.
Capote had a rivalry with the "beat generation" novelist and occultist, William S. Burroughs. This rivalry culminated when Burroughs officially "withdrew" or cursed Capote's talent as punishment for apparently selling out on a talent that was, according to Burroughs, not his to sell. It was Burroughs' belief that any talented writer "granted an area for psychic development" should use that skill for the expansion of human consciousness.
Curiously, this curse coincided with the beginning of the end for Capote's career and social life, when an extract from "Answered Prayers" published by Esquire in 1975 betrayed many celebrity confidences and led to his effective exile from high society.Learn more about US History