YES ! I'm sure something can be done if we join forces and ideas I'd love to be a consultant and help with plot, research and editing ! Anything you need ! Although I only lived in New York for a short period of time and never really letft Manhattan back then, except for once when I went to Saratoga Springs... myradiantheart40 can help out with that
Last Edit: Sept 13, 2015 17:44:33 GMT by inparallel
I also have Wilson's book but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. However, I did spot a review of "The Talented Mrs Highsmith" in a German magazine:
(She was adventurous and, at the same time, very shy. Mostly she was the genius author of over 30 novels and countless short stories. With her thrillers, whose protagonists were mostly male, Patricia Highsmith managed to start her own literary genre).
Obviously she too was infected by the note-taking anger. Just as the writer has taken notes and lists of everything all her life, the biographer Joan Schenkar has crammed everything in over 1000 pages of the thick biography of Patricia Highsmith.She drew much from the material left by the writer who died in 1995 in Lorcano - her diaries, her note books and her endless lists. There Highsmith listed everything - errands, appointments, ideas for novels, agendas, and comparisons of her (mostly female) lovers. These impulsively written 8000+ pages was an insurmountable flood, hardly permeated the book which Joan Schenkar worked on for seven years. Her biography "The Talented Miss Highsmith" is an unstructured flood of stories and anecdotes by and about Highsmith. There's not even a theory or thread in there. If there wasn't a chronology at the very start of the life of the irisdecent and exhausting Highsmith, one could've lost themselves already in the first third of the book - among all the affairs, arguments with the mother and outlying meetings with all the random people.
Patricia Highsmith, born in 1921 in Texas, spendt the first years of her life with her deeply calvinistic grandomer (who sent good advice to president Roosevelt all her life and received hand-written letters back from the president). At six, she moved with her mother Mary, an illustrator of a fashion magazine, and her husband, to New York. As a grown-up she only met her bioogical father once.Already as a child she felt herself to be a boy, but one who was "born in the body of a girl". And she often dressed like that too, and that led her to be come an outsider quite early. Later on, her novels were mostly held in high regard by and adapted by men.New York is the setting of many novels of the upcoming author, which - one finds out for the first time in this book - was working for 7 years as the plot writer for comic books. The two-faced comic-book heroes who were worthy citizens by day and superheroes by night, were partly born thanks to Highsmith's quill. These comics were bestsellers during the war and post-war years, just like the later novels by Highsmith with equally two-faced heroes. Until her death, Highsmith sought to hide her past as the comic-book writer.
At the time, the New Yorker habitually rejected the short stories which the ambitious young writer wrote at night and kept sending in to them (the fact that the intellectual magazine would later ecstatically praise her novels deeply satisfied the author). When she didn't write, she'd toss herself in the New York nightlife and love affairs with many women and a few men. The extremely shy Highsmith, even at the fringes, was part of the post-war American/European Bohemia. She met authors such as Janet Flanner and Arthur Koestler.
Her first novel "Strangers on a Train", appears in 1950 and is adapted by Hitchcock a little later. She becomes known in one fell swoop. A restless life between affairs, alcoholism and permanent moves into different countries begins. Her 30 novels and countless short stories are gloomy tales, which start of quietly and harmlessly gradually become involved with sinister (mainly male) characters, from who there's no escape. The biographer Schenkar calls this world "Highmith Country", where the writer in her own and unique atmosphere shines light upon the depths and shallows of men.
The biographer places a lot of worth on the shallows. There's a lot in there about the writer's problem areas, such as her chronic stinginess, her alcoholism (the first beer in the morning, and a whiskey in the evening). Unfortunatelly, Schenkar doesn't distance herself. She describes, i.e. analyses little but interprets and comments of a lot. She appears to be near her object. A lot is niggled, a lot is taken badly and construed as if the portrayed is her relationship. Often, one wishes for a description where one can draw their own conclusions, which is rarely afforded across these 1000 pages. And still, a lot has been assembled. Highsmith's fans can read this book as a rich assembly of material about her.
« Les idées, l’esprit et la chair sont au cœur de tout ce qu’elle fait. Et la vérité, toujuours la vérité et l’honnêteté. » - Alejandro Iñárritu sur Cate
In her recent interview with the New York Times, Schenkar is quoted as saying she was 'rigid with hatred' for Highsmith. That does come through in the bio and I found that disturbing.
So why she was writing her biography? I don't understand it :/ Schenkar was writing a biography about someone who she was hating?
While she seemed not to like Pat too much she was nevertheless fascinated with her and did acknowledge her talent, so I guess appreciating her as a writer was one thing but liking her as person was another. But that is a strong statement to make! I wonder if the biographer was feeling a little jealous that someone she found so personally distasteful was also a gifted and talented writer with commercial and critical success. That's my opinion anyway!
That is really interesting. Schenkar spent 7 years writing the biography. It does sound like an obsession, or at least a fascination.
Most definitely monty, and she seemed to want to dig out every unpleasant thing she could about Pat. Honestly, her bio is more of a hatchet job if you ask me! Right from the very beginning, she says about Pat "She wasn't nice..." When I first read the bio, I wanted to contact her and give her a piece of my mind!!!
Thank you monty for taking the time to translate this great article !
"Often, one wishes for a description where one can draw their own conclusions, which is rarely afforded across these 1000 pages."
This comment is spot on ! That is exactly how I felt about Schenkar's biography. I don't wish to demonize her, she did an extremely good job at researching Pat and presenting her character and soul to us, but this biography reads more like a "Fictional Memoir" at times, in the sense that, through her slightly judgmental depictions; which aren't necessarily unreasonable ones; of Pat(whom Schenkar was never "physically"(not in the sexual sense) close to; It am taking the time to emphasize the "physical" part of this because Schenkar did spend 8 years researching her, walking where she walked, reading her most intimate thoughts through words, probably going through her personal photo albums, talking to her oldest friends, thinking, speculating and dreaming about her. So she did get really close to her and under her skin in a sense. But she is blurring that line of emotional, spiritual and psychological closeness through her more entitled comments in her book. For us readers, it makes more immediate sense and isn't as bothersome when Marijane Meaker comes forward with her sometimes negative feelings and conclusions about Pat in Highsmith: A romance of the 50's in the form of a memoir. Because we are aware that she had known Pat in a concrete way, Had she written a biography in the style of Schenkar, we would have cut her some slack. But when someone who didn't know her subject as she lived, presents us with the story of that person who has passed away and can therefore, not defend herself, we naturally expect the more delicate facts to remain untainted of personal response on the biographer's part so that we can decide how we feel about it, or not miss the bigger picture.
That's great, myradiantheart40. ;-) I'll try to write a raw text in the next few days. Thank you.
livia and myradiantheart40 -- Has anything happened regarding "The Mystery of Kathleen Senn"? I'm eager to help in the long dry spell before "Carol" opens in my part of the world. No pressure....
Dear Marit, the short story is ready! The problem is... it's written in portuguese, my mother language. My fellow brazilian ApplePie will translate it into english, but it's 10 pages long and all of us have our professional and educational commitments, so it will take some time to be done. Besides her, I sent it to inparallel, but I'm aware that the language will be perhaps a barrier for most of you, for now.
Your insight is spot on I feel, yes I have read Beautiful Shadow but by then I already knew a lot about Pat. I always thought she wanted to write at least one other lesbian themed novel but I wonder if the success of TPOS put her off. How would she continue to hide her identity if another novel under the name Claire Morgan was published? There were rumors swirling about who really wrote TPOS and she may have been paralyzed by fear of discovery. She wouldn't have wanted to risk her career, it was the 50's and the 60's was no better as far as acceptance of homosexuality was concerned. I want to think more about this but that is what I would say for now. Thank you for the intelligent analysis and thoughtfulness you share.
Having read strangers on a train again recently. I really am not surprised that people ticked that "Pat Highsmith may have written the Price Of Salt" back then. On top of her prose being recognizable... Some of her analogies are pretty similar. One evident that comes to mind: Guy mentions "the green vine" in strangers on a train when refering to his and anne's love/happiness... Sound familar I can't think of many other writers who've used the term in that similar a context.
Last Edit: Oct 14, 2015 13:49:38 GMT by inparallel
sohappy: thanks Mortimer for clearing the spam. Much needed.
Feb 5, 2018 13:38:36 GMT
sohappy: Mortimer two spammers have posted over 1000 posts - rebecca and josephgreen - can we have all of those 1000+ posts deleted by banning these members?
Feb 5, 2018 13:50:20 GMT
Mortimer: Sohappy, don't worry. I already banned these two and everyone else who is recently registered only to post spams got the same fate. I'll check this place twice a day just to be sure everything is Ok.
Feb 5, 2018 19:46:32 GMT
sohappy: you are a star mortimer, thankyou so much
Feb 6, 2018 6:50:01 GMT
Marit: Thank you for your vigilance, Mortimer!
Feb 7, 2018 4:21:52 GMT
nyautomat: Great to see forum still here. Carol is still a big part of my life!
May 27, 2019 20:47:31 GMT
grateful: Happy to see you here, nyautomat, and to know that your love for Carol continues!
Jun 4, 2019 14:39:46 GMT
gchel: Back for a while! LOL!
Jul 6, 2019 3:20:20 GMT