martes, 27 de septiembre de 2016

Truman Capote / The boy who came from Alabama

Truman Capote
Photo by Irvin Penn


Truman Capote
(September 30, 1924 - August 25, 1984)
THE BOY WHO CAME FROM ALABAMA

American novelist, short story writer, and playwright. Capote gained international fame with his "nonfiction novel" IN COLD BLOOD (1966), an account of a real life crime in which an entire family was murdered by two sociopaths. The Louisiana-Mississippi-Alabama area provided the setting for much of Capote's fiction.


Truman Capote
Photo by Richard Avedon


"Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans - in fact, few Kansans - had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there." (from In Cold Blood)


Truman Streckfus Persons (afterwards Truman Capote) was born in New Orleans, as the son of a salesman and a 16-year-old beauty queen, Lillie Mae Faulk. His father, Archulus "Arch" Persons, worked as a clerk for a steamboat company. Persons never stuck at any job for long, and was always leaving home in search for new opportunities. The unhappy marriage gradually disintegrated. When Truman was four, his parents eventually divorced.
The young Truman was brought up in Monroeville, Alabama. He lived some years with his relatives, one of whom became the model for the loving, elderly spinster of the author's novels, stories, and plays. "Her face is remarkable - not unlike Lincoln's, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind," described Truman Capote in A CHRISTMAS MEMORY (1966) his distant relative Sook, Nanny Rumbley Faulk. Sook was sixty-something, "small and sprightly, like a bantam hen..." Capote's mother, Lillie Mae, wrote letters and telephoned to her son, often crying that she had no money and no husband.
In his childhood Capote made friends with Harper Lee, who portrayed him as Dill in her world famous novel To Kill a Mockingbird. "Dill was a curiosity. He wore blue linen shorts that buttoned to his shirt, his hair was snow white and stuck to his head like duckfluff; he was a year my senior but I towered over him. As he told us the old tale his blue eyes would lighten and darken; his laugh was sudden and happy; he habitually pulled at a cowlick in the center of his forehead."
After Capote's mother married again, this time a well-to-do businessman, Capote moved to New York, and adopted his stepfather's surname. He attended the Trinity School and St. John's Academy in New York, and the public schools of Greenwich, Connecticut. At the age of seventeen, Capote ended his formal schooling. He found work at the New Yorker, where he attracted attention with his eccentric style of dress. "... I recall him sweeping through the corridors of the magazine in a black opera cape, his long golden hair falling to his shoulders: an apparition that put one in mind of Oscar Wilde in Nevada, in his velvets and lilies." (Brendan Gill in Here at The New Yorker, 1975)
Capote's early stories were published in quality magazines and in 1946 he won the O.Henry award. His first novel, OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS (1948), depicted a boy, Joel Knox, growing up in the Deep South. Joel is "too pretty, too delicate and fair skinned". He seeks his father but falls into a relationship with a decadent transvestite. The book gained a wide success and created controversy because of its treatment of homosexuality. During this time Capote had already established his fame among the cultural circles as the thin voiced, promising young writer, who could brighten up parties with his sharp and clever remarks.
Next year Capote went to Europe, where he wrote fiction and non-fiction. Among his major works was a profile of Marlon Brando. Capote's travels accompanying a tour of Porgy and Bess in the Soviet Union produced THE MUSES ARE HEARD. These European years marked the beginning of Capote's work for the theatre and films. In 1949 appeared A TREE OF NIGHT, which gathered together short stories published in Harper's Bazaar, Mademoiselle, and other magazines. When the director John Huston was making The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Capote met Marilyn Monroe, who acted in the film. "With her tresses invisible, and her complexion cleared of all cosmetics, she looked twelve years old, a pubescent virgin who had just been admitted to an orphanage and is grieving her plight." (from Marilyn Monroe: Photographs 1945-1962 by Truman Capote)
In the 1950s Capote wrote THE HOUSE OF FLOWERS, a musical set in a West Indies bordello. Capote's lyrical style and melancholy marked his novel THE GRASS HARP (1951). In the story an orphaned boy and two old ladies observe life from a china tree. Eventually they come down from their temporary retreat, unlike Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò in Italo Calvino's novel The Baron in the Trees (1957). The book was adapted into screen in 1996, starring Piper Laurie, Sissy Spacek, and Walter Matthau. Capote's first important film work was collaboration with John Huston on Beat the Devil (1954), based on Claud Cockburn's bestseller about a band of international crooks. For the David O. Selznick production of Indiscreation of an American Wife (1953), directed by Vittorio De Sica and starring Jennifer Jones and Montgomery Clift, Capote had written dialogue. Nearly penniless Capote lived in Rome in an expensive penthouse on the Via Margutta. Huston offered him a salary of fifteen hundred dollars a week. Capote, who wrote the scenes only two or three days ahead of the shooting schedule, changed the whole concept of the film. For Peter Lorre he gave some of the best lines: "Time, time, what is time? The Swiss manufacture it. The French hoard it. The Italians squander it. The Americans say it is money. Hindus say it does not exist. You know what I say? I say time is a crook."
Following return to the United States, Capote wrote BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (1958). Its central character, Holly Golightly, is a young woman, who comes to New York seeking for happiness. She has a nameless cat and a brother named Fred. The narrator, an aspiring writer who has the same birthday as Capote (September 30), follows Holly's life, filled with colorful characters. "What I've found does the most good is just to get into a taxi and go to Tiffany's. It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there..." The novel is constructed as a memory of events, that happened about 15 years earlier. Holly has left the country before the end of the war, and the narrator has not seen her since. Breakfast at Tiffany's was made into a successful film, directed by Blake Edwards and starring Audrey Hepburn. George Axelrod updated the story to the 1960s and later told: "Nothing really happened in the book. All we had was this glorious girl –a perfect part for Audrie Hepburn. What we had to do was devise a story, get a central romantic relationship, and make the hero a red-blooded heterosexual." Most of the film was shot in California, not in New York City.
Increasing preoccupation with journalism formed the basis for the bestseller In Cold Blood, a pioneering work of documentary novel or "nonfiction novel". The work started from an article in The New York Times. It dealt with the murder of a wealthy family in Holcomb, Kansas. Sponsored by the magazine, Capote interviewed with Harper Lee local people to recreate the lives of both the murderers and their victims. During the process he became emotionally attached to both killers. However, this did not prevent him from telling the story with utmost objectivity.
The research work and writing took six years to finish. Capote used neither a tape recorder nor note pad, but emptied his interviews and impressions in notebooks at the end of the day. He also recorded last days of the death-obsessed criminals. (See Norman Mailer's journalistic works The Armies of the Nigh, Miami and the Siege of Chicago, Of Fire on the Moon.) Richard Brooks' screen adaptation of the book, with its black-and-white photography, avoided all sensationalism. The trial scene was re-enacted at the Finney County Court House in the Garden City, where the actual trial had taken place. Brooks also used the real jury who had convicted Perry Smith and Dick Hicock.
Among Capote's other works from the 1960s is the classic A Christmas Memory, a story about a seven-year-old boy, Buddy, his cousin, an eccentric old lady, and a tough little orange and white rat terrier called Queenie. Buddy and his cousin are each other's best friends, whose special relationship is symbolized by baking of fruitcakes, a kind of a Proustian Madeleine remembrance. The story gained a huge success as a television play. After the publication of In Cold Blood, Capote planned to write a Proustian novel to be called "Answered Prayers". This plan never materialized. Problems with drink and drugs, and disputes with other writers, such as Gore Vidal, exhausted Capote's creative energies.
In interviews, Capote negative anecdotes about the people he knew distanced him from his friends. "I had a big discussion with Saul Bellow about Richard Wright," Capote said in 1974. "I said, Richard Wright was a good friend of mine and do you know what Saul Bellow said? He said, "Huh! Well, Wright just became a victim of these heavyweight intellectuals. I used to see him carting around books on Wittgenstein. He was convinced he was an intellectual." I thought that was very sad and pathetic." (The Critical Response to Truman Capote by Joseph J. Waldmeir, 1999)
Answered Prayers remained unfinished, but three stories from the novel appeared in Esquire in the 1970s. The surviving portions were republished in 1986. Capote's autobiographical book presented such real-life as Colette, the Duchess of Windsor, Montgomery Clift, and Tallulah Bankhead, but its depiction of the smart set was characterized in The New York Times as "a socio-pornographic ''Ragtime'' rife with the low cackle of camp." MUSIC FOR CHAMELEONS (1981) was a collection of short pieces, stories, interviews, and conversations published in various magazines. Truman Capote died in Los Angeles, California, on August 26, 1984, of liver disease complicated by phlebitis and multiple drug intoxication. His life and work inspired Bennett Miller's film Capote (2005), based on the Gerald Clarke biography from 1988, and Have You Heard? (2006), based on George Plimpton's interviews.

http://kirjasto.sci.fi/capote.htm



Truman Capote
Photo by Richard Avedon
Poster by T.A.

Truman Capote Is Dead at 59; 
Novelist of Style and Clarity
By ALBIN KREBS
August 28, 1984
T
ruman Capote, one of the postwar era's leading American writers, whose prose shimmered with clarity and quality, died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 59.

Mr. Capote died at the home of Joanna Carson, former wife of the entertainer Johnny Carson, in the Bel-Air section, according to Comdr. William Booth of the Los Angeles Police Department. ''There is no indication of foul play,'' he said, adding that the county coroner's office would investigate the cause of death.
The novelist, short story writer and literary celebrity pioneered a genre he called ''the nonfiction novel,'' exemplified by his immensely popular ''In Cold Blood.'' He died apparently without having completed his long- promised ''masterwork,'' an extensive novel called ''Answered Prayers.''
Mr. Capote's first story was published while he was still in his teens, but his work totaled only 13 volumes, most of them slim collections, and in the view of many of his critics, notably his old friend John Malcolm Brinnin, he failed to join the ranks of the truly great American writers because he squandered his time, talent and health on the pursuit of celebrity, riches and pleasure.
''I had to be successful, and I had to be successful early,'' Mr. Capote said in 1978. ''The thing about people like me is that we always knew what we were going to do. Many people spend half their lives not knowing. But I was a very special person, and I had to have a very special life. I was not meant to work in an office or something, though I would have been successful at whatever I did. But I always knew that I wanted to be a writer and that I wanted to be rich and famous.'' Success, both as a writer and as a celebrity, came early, when he was 23 years old and published his first novel, ''Other Voices, Other Rooms.'' It was a critical and financial success, and so were most of the volumes of short stories, reportage and novellas that followed, including ''Breakfast at Tiffany's,'' ''The Muses Are Heard,'' ''The Grass Harp,'' ''Local Color,'' ''The Dogs Bark'' and ''Music for Chameleons.''




Claim to Literary Fame
But the book that perhaps solidified his claim to literary fame was ''In Cold Blood,'' his detailed, painstakingly researched and chilling account of the 1959 slaying of a Kansas farm family and the capture, trial and execution of the two killers.
Published serially in The New Yorker and then as a book in 1965, ''In Cold Blood'' consumed more than six years of his life. But it won him enthusiastic praise, mountains of publicity, millions of dollars and the luxury of time to work on ''Answered Prayers.''
But he accelerated the speed of his journey to celebrity, appearing on television talk shows and, in his languid accent, which retained its Southern intonation, indulged a gift for purveying viperish wit and scandalous gossip. He continued to cultivate scores of the famous as his friends and confidants, all the while publishing little and, he said later, developing a formidable ''writer's block'' that delayed completion of ''Answered Prayers.''
To keep alive the public's interest in the promised work, in 1975 he decided to allow the magazine Esquire to print portions of the unfinished novel. The decision was catastrophic to the grand social life he had cultivated because, in one of the excerpts, ''La C~te Basque,'' Mr. Capote told apparently true and mostly scandalous stories about his famous friends, naming names, and in so doing forever lost their friendship and many other friendships as well.



Alcohol and Drug Problems
Soon his long-simmering problems with alcohol and drugs grew into addictions, and his general health deteriorated alarmingly. The once sylphlike and youthful Mr. Capote grew paunchy and bald, and in the late 1970's he underwent treatment for alcoholism and drug abuse, had prostate surgery and suffered from a painful facial nerve condition, a tic doloreux.
In ''Music for Chameleons,'' a collection of short nonfiction pieces published in 1980, Mr. Capote, in a ''self-interview,'' asked himself whether, at that point in his life, God had helped him. His answer: ''Yes. More and more. But I'm not a saint yet. I'm an alcoholic. I'm a drug addict. I'm homosexual. I'm a genius. Of course, I could be all four of these dubious things and still be a saint.''
Named Truman Streckfus Persons after his birth in New Orleans on Sept. 30, 1924, he was the son of Archulus Persons, a nonpracticing lawyer and member of an old Alabama family, and of the former Lillie Mae Faulk, of Monroeville, Ala. Years later he adopted the surname of his stepfather, Joe Capote, a Cuban-born New York businessman.
Mr. Capote's mother, who eventually committed suicide, liked to be called Nina and was not, according to her own testimony as well as her son's, temperamentally suited to motherhood. Living with her husband in a New Orleans hotel, she sent Truman to live with relatives in Monroeville when he was barely able to walk, and for the first nine years of his life he lived mostly in Alabama under the supervision of female cousins and aunts.

Truman Capote
Photo de Irving Penn
New York, 1948


'A Spiritual Orphan'
In that period, he said years later, he felt like ''a spiritual orphan, like a turtle on its back.''
''You see,'' he said, ''I was so different from everyone, so much more intelligent and sensitive and perceptive. I was having fifty perceptions a minute to everyone else's five. I always felt that nobody was going to understand me, going to understand what I felt about things. I guess that's why I started writing. At least on paper I could put down what I thought.''
Most summers the boy returned to New Orleans for a month or so, and accompanied his father on trips up and down the Mississippi aboard the riverboat on which Mr. Persons worked as a purser. Truman learned to tap dance, he said, and was proud of the fact that he once danced for the passengers accompanied by Louis Armstrong, whose band was playing on the steamboat.
Many of his stories, notably ''A Christmas Memory,'' which paid loving tribute to his old cousin, Miss Sook Faulk, who succored him in his childhood loneliness, were based on his recollections of life in and around Monroeville. So were his first published novel, ''Other Voices, Other Rooms,'' his second, ''The Grass Harp,'' and the collection of stories, ''A Tree of Night.''

Truman Capote and Harper Lee


Character in 'Mockingbird'
The young Truman's best friend in Monroeville was the little girl next door, Nelle Harper Lee, who many years later put him into her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, ''To Kill a Mockingbird,'' in the character of the precocious Dill Harris. (He had earlier used Miss Lee as the prototype for the character of Idabel Tompkins in ''Other Voices, Other Rooms.'')
After his mother's divorce from Mr. Persons and her marriage to Joe Capote, she brought her son to live with them in New York. He was sent to several private schools, including Trinity School and St. John's Academy in New York, but he disliked schools and did poorly in his courses, including English, although he had taught himself to read and write when he was 5 years old.
Having been told by many teachers that the precocious child was probably mentally backward, the Capotes sent him to a psychiatrist who, Truman Capote said triumphantly some years later, ''naturally classified me as a genius.''
He later credited Catherine Woods, an English teacher at Greenwich High School in Connecticut, with being the first person to recognize his writing talent and to give him guidance. With her encouragement he wrote poems and stories for the school paper, The Green Witch. He did not complete high school and had no further formal education.
At the age of 17, Mr. Capote wangled a job at The New Yorker. ''Not a very grand job, for all it really involved was sorting cartoons and clipping newspapers,'' he wrote years later. ''Still, I was fortunate to have it, especially since I was determined never to set a studious foot inside a college classroom. I felt that either one was or wasn't a writer, and no combination of professors could influence the outcome. I still think I was correct, at least in my own case.''




First Stories and Novel
In a two-year stay at The New Yorker, Mr. Capote had several short stories published in minor magazines. ''Several of them were submitted to my employers, and none accepted,'' he wrote later. In the same period, he wrote his first, never-published novel, ''Summer Crossing.''
Mr. Capote made his first major magazine sale, of the haunting short story ''Miriam,'' to Mademoiselle in 1945, and in 1946 it won an O. Henry Memorial Award. (There were to be three more O. Henry awards.)
The award led to a contract and a $1,500 advance from Random House to write a novel. Mr. Capote returned to Monroeville and began ''Other Voices, Other Rooms,'' and he worked on the slim volume in New Orleans, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and in North Carolina, finally completing it on Nantucket. It was published in 1948.
The novel, a sensitively written account of a teen-age boy's coming to grips with maturity and accepting his world as it is, achieved wide popularity and critical acclaim and was hailed as a remarkable achievement for a writer only 23 years old.
In 1969, when ''Other Voices, Other Rooms'' was reprinted, Mr. Capote said the novel was ''an attempt to exorcise demons: an unconscious, altogether intuitive attempt, for I was not aware, except for a few incidents and descriptions, of its being in any serious degree autobiographical. Rereading it now, I find such self-deception unpardonable.''

Famous Dust-Cover Photograph
The book's back dust cover received almost as much comment as the novel itself, and for years was the talk of the literary set. The jacket was a photogragh of an androgynously pretty Mr. Capote, big eyes looking up from under blond bangs, and wearing a tattersall vest, reclining sensually on a sofa. The striking, now-famous dust-jacket photograph may have been prophetic, because Mr. Capote, for the remainder of his life, assiduously sought personal publicity and celebrity and said he had ''a love affair with cameras - all cameras.''
In the pursuit of literary celebrity in succeeding years, the writer was photographed in his homes in the Hamptons on Long Island, in Switzerland and at United Nations Plaza. He was photographed escorting well- dressed society women who seemed always to tower over Mr. Capote, who was only 5 feet 4 inches tall. He was also photographed, for dozens of magazines and newspapers, when he gave a much-publicized masked ball at the Plaza Hotel in New York in 1966 for some 500 of his ''very closest friends.''
For many of the postwar years Mr. Capote traveled widely and lived abroad much of the time with Jack Dunphy, his companion of more than a quarter-century. He turned out short- story collections and nonfiction for Vogue, Mademoiselle, Esquire and The New Yorker, which first published ''The Muses Are Heard,'' a 1956 book chronicling a tour of the Soviet Union by a company of black Americans in ''Porgy and Bess.''
''I conceived the whole adventure as a short comic 'nonfiction novel,' the first,'' Mr. Capote said. ''That book was an important event for me. While writing it, I realized I just might have found a solution to what had always been my greatest creative quandary. I wanted to produce a journalistic novel, something on a large scale that would have the credibility of fact, the immediacy of film, the depth and freedom of prose, and the precision of poetry.''



Praise for 'In Cold Blood'
The result of Mr. Capote's discovery was ''In Cold Blood,'' which was almost universally praised. John Hersey called it ''a remarkable book,'' for example, but there were dissenters. Stanley Kauffmann, in The New Republic, sniped at ''In Cold Blood,'' saying ''this isn't writing, it's research'' - a sly borrowing from Mr. Capote's witty thumbnail critique, years earlier, of the rambling books of the late Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac: ''This isn't writing, it's typing.''
The critic Kenneth Tynan took Mr. Capote to task for being too strictly a reporter and not making an effort to have the killers' lives spared.
Many readers were struck by Mr. Capote's verbatim quotations of long, involved conversations and incidents in his book. He explained that this came from ''a talent for mentally recording lengthy conversations, an ability I had worked to achieve while researching 'The Muses Are Heard,' for I devoutly believe that the taking of notes, much less the use of a tape recorder, creates artifice and distorts or even destroys any naturalness that might exist between the observer and the observed, the nervous hummingbird and its would-be captor.'' He said his trick was to rush away from an interview and immmediately write down everything he had been told.
Mr. Capote was co-author of the movie ''Beat the Devil'' with John Huston and wrote the screenplay for a film of Henry James's ''The Innocents.'' Mr. Capote turned his second novel, ''The Grass Harp,'' into an unsuccessful Broadway play and, with Harold Arlen, wrote the 1954 musical, also unsuccessful, ''House of Flowers.'' Mr. Capote also adapted a number of his stories, including ''A Christmas Memory'' and ''The Thanksgiving Visitor,'' for television.


Critics noted his deft handling of children as characters in his work, his ability to move from the real to the surreal, and his use of lush words and images. In 1963, the critic Mark Schorer wrote of Mr. Capote: ''Perhaps the single constant in his prose is style, and the emphasis he himself places upon the importance of style.''
















For further reading

Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood": A Critical Handbook, ed. by Irving Malin (1968); The Worlds of Truman Capote by William L. Nance (1970); Sextet: T.S. Eliot and Truman Capote and Others by J. M. Brinnin (1982); Truman Capote: A Biography by Gerald Clarke (1988); Truman Capote: A Study of the Short Fiction by H. Garson (1992); Truman Capote's Southern Years by Marianne M. Moates & Jennings Faulk Carter (1996); Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances, and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career by George Plimpton (1997); Critical Essays on Truman Capote, ed. by Joseph J. Waldmeir (1999); The Critical Response to Truman Capote ed. by Joseph J. Waldmeir (1999); The Southern Haunting of Truman Capote by Marie Rudisill, James C. Simmons (2000) - Quote: "In California everyone goes to therapist, is a therapist, or is a therapist going to a therapist." - See also: Harper Lee (Capote's childhood friend); Carson McCullers



Selected work

OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS, 1948
A TREE OF NIGHT AND OTHER STORIES, 1949
LOCAL COLOR, 1950
THE GRASS HARP, 1951 - film 1996, dir. by Charles Matthau, starring Piper Laurie, Sissy Spacek, Walter Matthau, Edward Furlong, Jack Lemmon, Nell Carter
THE GRASS HARP, 1952 (play)
BEAT THE DEVIL, 1954 (screenplay, with John Huston) - film dir. by J.H., starring Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lorre, Robert Morley
THE HOUSE OF FLOWERS, 1954 (play, with Harold Arlen)
THE MUSES HAVE HEARD, 1956
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, 1958.film 1961, dir. by Blake Edwards, starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen
THE INNOCENTS, 1961 (screenplay, with William Archibald and John Mortimer) - film dir. by Jack Clayton, starring Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkis
OBSERVATIONS, 1959 (with R. Avedon)
SELECTED WRITINGS, 1963
IN COLD BLOOD, 1966. Film 1967, written and directed by Richard Brooks, starring Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, John Forsythe, Paul Stewart; television film 1996
A CHRISTMAS MEMORY, 1966
A CHRISTMAS MEMORY, 1966 (television play)
THE THANKSGIVING VISITOR, 1967
AMONG THE PATHS TO EDEN, 1967 (television play)
LAURA, 1968 (television play)
HOUSE OF FLOWERS, 1968
THE THANKSGIVING VISITOR, 1968 (television play)
TRILOGY, 1969 (screenplay, with Eleanor Perry)
EXPERIMENT IN MULTIMEDIA, 1969 (with E. and F. Perry)
BEHIND PRISON WALLS, 1972 (television play)
THE GLASS HOUSE, 1972 (television play, with Tracy Keenan Wynn and Wyatt Cooper)
THE DOGS BARK, 1973
CRIMEWATCH, 1973 (television play)
THEN IT ALL CAME DOWN, 1976
MUSIC FOR CHAMELEONS, 1980
ONE CHRISTMAS, 1982
CONVERSATIONS WITH CAPOTE, 1985
ANSWERED PRAYERS, 1986 (unfinished)
A CAPOTE READER, 1987
MARILYN MONROE: PHOTOGRAPHS 1945-1962, 1994
SUMMER'S CROSSING, 2005
PORTRAITS AND OBSERVATIONS: THE ESSAYS OF TRUMAN CAPOTE, 2007

miércoles, 21 de septiembre de 2016

Grace Paley

Grace Paley


DRAGON

With her first two books of short stories, Grace Paley established her niche in the world of letters. Her distinctive voice and verbal gifts have captured the hearts of critics who praise her vision as well as her style. In short and sometimes plotless tales, she plumbs the lives of working-class New Yorkers, mapping out what New York Review of Books contributing critic Michael Wood called "a whole small country of damaged, fragile, haunted citizens." Rather than action, Paley relies on conversation to establish character, reproducing Jewish, Black, Irish, and other dialects with startling accuracy.America reviewer William Novak deemed her "a writer's writer" who "focuses her talent and energy on the craft itself" and "observes the classic rules: she writes what she knows, she does not attempt too much, she shies away from any hint of cliché and tells a simple and honest story." Walter Clemons's assessment was even more generous; in aNewsweek review he proclaimed her "one of the best writers alive." 

The daughter of Russian immigrants who arrived in New York around the turn of the century, Paley was raised in the Bronx. At home, her parents spoke Russian and Yiddish, and Paley grew up within two cultures, influenced by the old world as well as the new. From her surroundings, she gleaned the raw material for her short stories, and both her Russian-Jewish heritage and her perceptions of New York street life pervade her work. With the publication of The Little Disturbances of Man, Paley began to attract critical attention. Initial sales were modest, but the collection drew a loyal following and good reviews. The New Yorker assessed Paley's writing as "fresh and vigorous," noting that "her view of life is her own." To Kirkus Reviews the collection seemed "alternately humorous and touching, simple and unaffected . . . a demonstration of a considerable talent." The ten stories that comprise the volume focus on the inhabitants of a boisterous city neighborhood where, to use Paley's words, "dumbwaiters boom, doors slam, dishes crash; every window is a mother's mouth bidding the street shut up, go skate somewhere else, come home." Ordinary people in unexceptional circumstances, these characters demonstrate the way man deals with the "little disturbances" of life. In her introduction to the Virago edition of this volume, A. S. Byatt pointed out that "we have had a great many artists, more of them women than not, recording the tragedies of repetition, frequency, weariness and little disturbances. What distinguishes Grace Paley from the mass of these is the interest, and even more, the inventiveness which she brings to her small world." 


In "An Interest in Life," the set piece of the collection and the story from which the book's title is drawn, Paley's mode becomes clear. Initially the story of a husband's desertion of his wife and four children, it begins: "My husband gave me a broom one Christmas. This wasn't right. No one can tell me it was meant kindly." In a Partisan Review article, Jonathan Baumbach explained how "the matter-of-fact, ironic voice of the protagonist, Ginny, distances the reader from the conventions of her pathos, makes light of easy sentiment, only to bring us, unburdened by melodrama, to an awareness of the character as if someone known to us intimately for a long time. Ginny, in a desperate moment, writes out a list of her troubles to get on the radio show Strike It Rich. When she shows the list to John Raftery, a returned former suitor unhappily married to someone else, he points out to her that her troubles are insufficient, merely 'the little disturbances of man.' Paley's comic stories deal in exaggerated understatement, disguise their considerable ambition in the modesty of wit." 



Unlike her later fiction, Paley's first book features several conventionally crafted stories that are narrated by a speaker who is not the author and built around a series of incidents that comprise the plot. "The Contest," "Goodbye and Good Luck," "An Irrevocable Diameter," and "A Woman Young and Old" belong to this category. Paley's other approach is more open and fragmentary and can be seen in "An Interest in Life" and "The Used-Boy Raisers," stories narrated respectively by Virginia and Faith, two women not unlike the author. Explained Byatt: "Faith and Virginia both appear elsewhere in Grace Paley's work, with their dependent children, their circumscribed lives, their poverty and resourcefulness, their sexual greed and their consequent continuing openness to exploitation by, and readiness to exploit, men. Their tales have no beginnings and ends, in the sense in which 'An Irrevocable Diameter' has, or, best of the 'well-made tales,' 'In Time Which Made a Monkey of Us All.' But they have beginnings and ends verbally, and they are brilliant, as the choice of the parts that make them is brilliant." 


Another six years would pass before the appearance of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, Paley's second collection of short stories. But, as Ivan Gold reported, "during her literary lean years, Grace Paley's life was fat. She gave to the roles of wife and mother the profound, existential attention her readers would have been able to predict." In addition to her homemaking concerns, Paley submerged herself in political activities—distributing antiwar pamphlets, marching on the Capitol, and traveling overseas to protest American involvement in Vietnam. "I think I could have done more for peace," she told People, "if I'd written about the war, but I happen to love being in the streets." Her later commitments were the women's movement and antimilitarist groups. 


Enormous Changes at the Last Minute not only plays off the title of Paley's first volume (The Little Disturbances of Man), but also features the same setting and several of the same characters. Faith reappears with her boys Richard and Tonto, and so does Johnny Raftery—his love affair with Ginny recounted this time from his mother's point of view. While William Novak found the second collection "somewhat broader in range . . . more American and less parochial," he attributed the change to "subjects and themes rather than . . . the basic techniques of writing." For Novak, the crucial quality was still howPaley writes rather than what she is saying: "We are so accustomed to responding to fiction in terms of its themes and characters that we must reawaken our linguistic sensitivities when reading Grace Paley. The qualities and substances that give strength to most of our good writers are quite alien from her work." 



Plot, for instance, figures in these stories almost as an afterthought. The tales are open-ended, fragmentary, and sometimes actionless. In a story called "A Conversation with My Father," Paley explains why. The piece begins with an ailing father's request to his daughter: "I would like you to write a simple story just once more . . . the kind de Maupassant wrote, or Chekhov, the kind you used to write." Though she would like to please him, the daughter reveals that she has always avoided plot "not for literary reasons, but because it takes all hope away. Everyone real or invented deserves the open destiny of life." 


In the eyes of Michele Murray, however, Paley disregards her own requirement. "Even with the glitter of its style, over which Paley skates like some Olympic champion of language, Enormous Changes is a book of losses and failures," Murray wrote in the New Republic. "It's not tragedy that weighs down these stories, it's no more than despair and repetition. Tragedy suggests depths and alternatives and is built into a world of choices. Paley's world . . . is severely limited, the world as given, without any imagined alternatives, only endless vistas of crumbling buildings, bedrooms opening onto air shafts, and a phalanx of old people's homes." 


But Burton Bendow argued that Paley "is right to avoid looking tragedy in the face; she knows where her talent lies. It is, if not for comedy exactly, for virtuoso mimicry. I would guess," he continued in the Nation, "that the first thing she has in mind when starting work on one of her better stories is a voice. Definitely not a plot which would keep her to the straight and narrow and cramp her digressions, or a situation or a point of view or even a character, but a voice with a particular ring and particular turns of phrase." Paley herself told Ms. interviewer Harriet Shapiro that she "used to start simply from language. . . . I would write a couple of sentences and let them lay there. Not on purpose, but just because I couldn't figure out what was going to come next. I've always worked very blind." 



Paley's technique may explain what academics sometimes called the "unevenness" of her writing. As Vivian Gornick wrote in the Village Voice: "Her successes are intermittent, unpredictable, often unshapely and without wholeness; there is no progression of revelation, the stories do not build one upon another, they do not—as is abundantly clear in this new collection—create an emotional unity. On the other hand: Paley when she is good is so good that she is worth ninety-nine 'even' writers, and when one hears that unmistakable Paley voice one feels what can be felt only in the presence of a true writer: safe." 


Though she acknowledged that Paley's technique of writing is indeed "chancy," Time's Martha Duffy concluded that "the stories—whether two pages or twenty—run their courses as cleanly and surely as arrows flying in air." Newsweek's Walter Clemons summed up his reaction this way: "Enormous Changes at the Last Minute was worth the wait." 


Several characters from her first two collections, notably Faith, reappear in Paley's third, again much-delayed, collection, Later the Same Day, published in 1985. And another decade on, The Collected Stories appeared, earning a nomination for the National Book Award. Though the sum of Paley's oeuvre in the short-story genre totaled a mere forty-five stories in 1994, when Collected Stories was published, she is nonetheless considered a seminal American short-story writer of the twentieth century. She has also published several volumes of poetry, however, a genre she has favored since her earliest days as a writer, and in which she displays many of the same virtues as those that have made her famous as a short-story writer. Of Leaning Forward, Long Walks and Intimate Talks, New and Collected Poems, and Begin Again, Carolyn Alessio wrote in American Writers:"Throughout, her poetry has tended to be more baldly political than her fiction and sometimes more limited in scope. Critics, and Paley herself, have downplayed the significance of her poems; she has pronounced them 'mostly about flowers' and 'too literary.' But some of them display the verve and innuendo that energize her fiction." 


"What marks Grace Paley's Begin Again, . . . apart from its lyricism and close observations of life (human and natural), is the humility and humanity of her voice," remarked Kate Moos in Ruminator Review. Begin Again collects work from throughout Paley's writing life, providing a kind of autobiography in poetry, marking her days as peace activist, feminist activist, her years of mothering, and her experience of grandmotherhood, of living in New York City and of Vermont. "This radiant volume is alive with Paley's wise humor and free-flowing empathy," declared Donna Seaman inBooklist. A contributor to Publishers Weekly compared Paley unfavorably with the poetAdrienne Rich, however, for Paley's failure at the type of well-made poems, finely honed language, and subtle or complex metaphors at which Rich excels. Still, "fans of the fiction will want these unguarded looks at the illimitably appealing Paley persona," this critic added. 


Some of Paley's poems are included in her collection Just As I Thought, along with essays, reviews, and speeches written over the course of thirty years. Here, more so than in the short-story or poetry collections, Paley's political opinions take center stage, bearing the brunt, occasionally, of critical attention the book was paid. Thus, for example, John Kennedy, reviewing Just As I Thought in the Antioch Review, called Paley "extremely leftist," and remarked that the author "provokes misunderstanding," and "controversy" by refusing to take into consideration the views of the opposition in some of the pieces collected in the book. But for Iain Finlayson, writing in the London Times,the voice displayed throughout this volume "cherishes a flawed world that should be grateful for her tough, passionate love."




Grace Paley, Writer and Activist, Dies

By MARGALIT FOX
AUG. 23, 2007
Grace Paley, the celebrated writer and social activist whose short stories explored in precise, pungent and tragicomic style the struggles of ordinary women muddling through everyday lives, died on Wednesday at her home in Thetford Hill, Vt. She was 84 and also had an apartment in Manhattan.
Ms. Paley had been ill with breast cancer for some time, her literary agent, Elaine Markson, said yesterday.
Ms. Paley’s output was modest, some four dozen stories in three volumes: “The Little Disturbances of Man” (Doubleday, 1959); “Enormous Changes at the Last Minute” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1974); and “Later the Same Day” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1985). But she attracted a devoted following and was widely praised by critics for her pitch-perfect dialogue, which managed at once to be surgically spare and almost unimaginably rich.
Her “Collected Stories,” published by Farrar, Straus in 1994, was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. (The collection was reissued by Farrar, Straus this year.) From 1986 to 1988, Ms. Paley was New York’s first official state author; she was also a past poet laureate of Vermont.
Ms. Paley was among the earliest American writers to explore the lives of women — mostly Jewish, mostly New Yorkers — in all their dailiness. She focused especially on single mothers, whose days were an exquisite mix of sexual yearning and pulverizing fatigue. In a sense, her work was about what happened to the women that Roth and Bellow and Malamud’s men had loved and left behind.
To read Ms. Paley’s fiction is to be awash in the shouts and murmurs of secular Yiddishkeit, with its wild onrushing joy and twilight melancholy. For her, cadence and character went hand in hand: her stories are marked by their minute attention to language, with its tonal rise and fall, hairpin rhetorical reversals and capacity for delicious hyperbolic understatement. Her stories, many of which are written in the first person and seem to start in mid-conversation, beg to be read aloud.
Some critics found Ms. Paley’s stories short on plot, and in fact much of what happens is that nothing much happens. Affairs begin, babies are born, affairs end. Mothers gather in the park. But that was the point. In Ms. Paley’s best stories, the language is so immediate, the characters so authentic, that the text is propelled by an innate urgency — the kind that makes readers ask, “And then what happened?”
Open Ms. Paley’s first collection, “The Little Disturbances of Man,” to the first story, “Goodbye and Good Luck”:
“I was popular in certain circles, says Aunt Rose. I wasn’t no thinner then, only more stationary in the flesh. In time to come, Lillie, don’t be surprised — change is a fact of God. From this no one is excused. Only a person like your mama stands on one foot, she don’t notice how big her behind is getting and sings in the canary’s ear for thirty years. Who’s listening? Papa’s in the shop. You and Seymour, thinking about yourself. So she waits in a spotless kitchen for a kind word and thinks — poor Rosie. ...
“Poor Rosie! If there was more life in my little sister, she would know my heart is a regular college of feelings and there is such information between my corset and me that her whole married life is a kindergarten.”



Hooked.
For Ms. Paley’s immigrant Jews, the push and pull of assimilation is everywhere. Parents live in the East Bronx or Coney Island; their grown children flee to Greenwich Village. A family agonizes over its lively daughter’s starring role in her school’s Christmas pageant.
Later stories are even darker. A girl is raped; children die of drug overdoses. Threading through the books are familiar characters, in particular Faith Darwin, the subject of many of Ms. Paley’s finest stories, grown older and world-wearier.
Though Ms. Paley’s work also rings with Irish and Italian and black voices, it was for the language of her childhood, a heady blend of Yiddish, Russian and English, that she was best known. Reviewers sometimes called her prose postmodern, but all of it — even the death-defying, almost surreal turns of logic that were a stylistic hallmark — was already present in Yiddish oral tradition. Consider:
A man meets a friend on the street.
“Nu, how’s by you?” the friend asks.
“Ach,” the man replies. “My wife left me; the children don’t call; business is bad. With life so terrible, it’s better never to have been born.”
“Yes,” his friend says. “But how many are so lucky? Not one in ten thousand.”
Grace Goodside was born in the Bronx on Dec. 11, 1922. (The family changed its name from Gutseit on coming to the United States.) Her parents, Isaac and the former Manya Ridnyik, were Ukrainian Jewish socialists who had been exiled by Czar Nicholas II — Isaac to Siberia, Manya to Germany. In 1906, they were able to leave for New York, where Isaac became a doctor. They had two children, and, approaching middle age, a third, Grace.
Grace’s childhood was noisy and warm. There were stories and songs and glasses of good strong tea. Always, there was glorious argument. The communists hollered at the socialists, the socialists hollered at the Zionists, and everybody hollered at the anarchists.
Grace did a year at Hunter College before marrying Jess Paley, a film cameraman, at 19; the marriage later ended in divorce. Hoping to be a poet (she studied briefly with Auden at the New School), she wrote only verse until she was in her 30s. But little by little, the narrative speech of the old neighborhood — here, that of young Shirley Abramowitz in Ms. Paley’s story “The Loudest Voice” — began to assert itself:
“There is a certain place where dumb-waiters boom, doors slam, dishes crash; every window is a mother’s mouth bidding the street shut up, go skate somewhere else, come home. My voice is the loudest.
“There, my own mother is still as full of breathing as me and the grocer stands up to speak to her. ‘Mrs. Abramowitz,’ he says, ‘people should not be afraid of their children.’
“ ‘Ah, Mr. Bialik,’ my mother replies, ‘if you say to her or her father “Ssh,” they say, “In the grave it will be quiet.” ’ ”
A self-described “somewhat combative pacifist and cooperative anarchist,” Ms. Paley was a lifelong advocate of liberal causes. During the Vietnam War, she was jailed several times for antiwar protests; in later years, she lobbied for women’s rights, against nuclear proliferation and, most recently, against the war in Iraq. For decades, she was a familiar presence on lower Sixth Avenue, near her Greenwich Village home, smiling broadly, gum cracking, leaflets in hand.



Ms. Paley, who taught for many years at Sarah Lawrence and the City College of New York, was also a past vice president of the PEN American Center.
Some critics have called Ms. Paley’s work uneven, but what they really seemed to mean is that it was too even: similar people in similar situations in similar places. But the stories that worked — and most did — were so blindingly satisfying that the lesser ones scarcely mattered. In her best writing, Ms. Paley collapsed entire worlds into a few perfect paragraphs, as in the opening of “Wants,” from “Enormous Changes at the Last Minute”:
“I saw my ex-husband in the street. I was sitting on the steps of the new library.
“Hello, my life, I said. We had once been married for twenty-seven years, so I felt justified.
“He said, What? What life? No life of mine.
“I said, O.K. I don’t argue when there’s real disagreement. I got up and went into the library to see how much I owed them.
“The librarian said $32 even and you’ve owed it for eighteen years. I didn’t deny anything. Because I don’t understand how time passes. I have had those books. I have often thought of them. The library is only two blocks away.
“My ex-husband followed me to the Books Returned desk. He interrupted the librarian, who had more to tell. In many ways, he said, as I look back, I attribute the dissolution of our marriage to the fact that you never invited the Bertrams to dinner.
“That’s possible, I said. But really, if you remember: first, my father was sick that Friday, then the children were born, then I had those Tuesday-night meetings, then the war began.”
Ms. Paley is survived by her second husband, Robert Nichols, a landscape architect and writer whom she married in 1972. (The two collaborated on a book, “Here and Somewhere Else,” which collects poems and stories by each of them, published this year by The Feminist Press.) She is also survived by two children from her first marriage, Nora Paley of East Thetford; and Danny, of Brooklyn, and three grandchildren.
Her other books include a collection of essays, “Just As I Thought” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998), and several volumes of poetry, among them “Leaning Forward” (Granite Press, 1985) and “New and Collected Poems” (Tilbury Press, 1991). A film, “Enormous Changes at the Last Minute,” based on three stories in the collection and adapted by John Sayles and Susan Rice, was released in 1983.
In an interview with The New York Times in 1978, Ms. Paley described the grass-roots sensibility that informed her work.
“I’m not writing a history of famous people,” she said. “I am interested in a history of everyday life.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES


BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • The Little Disturbances of Man: Stories of Women and Men at Love (short stories), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1959, published as The Little Disturbances of Man, with a new introduction by A. S. Byatt, Virago (London, England), 1980.
  • Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (short stories), Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1974.
  • Later the Same Day (short stories), Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1985.
  • Leaning Forward (poetry), Granite Press (Penobscot, ME), 1985.
  • 365 Reasons Not to Have Another War, New Society Publications/War Resisters' League (Philadelphia, PA), 1989.
  • Long Walks and Intimate Talks (stories and poems), paintings by Vera Williams, Feminist Press at The City University of New York (New York, NY), 1991.
  • New and Collected Poems, Tilbury House (Gardiner, ME), 1992.
  • The Collected Stories, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1994.
  • Conversations with Grace Paley, edited by Gerhard Bach and Blaine H. Hall, University Press of Mississippi (Oxford, MS), 1997.
  • Just As I Thought, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1998.
  • (With Mel Rosenthal) In the South Bronx: Photographs, Curbstone Press (Willimantic, CT), 1998.
  • Begin Again: Collected Poems, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2000.
Author of forewords to At His Side: The Last Years of Isaac Babel, by A. N. Pirozhkova, Steerforth, 1996; After Sorrow: An American among the Vietnamese, by Lady Borton, Kodansha, 1996; and Serious Kissing, by Barbara Selfridge, Glad Day (Warner, NH), 1999. Author of introduction to The Author's Dimension: Selected Essays by Christa Wolf, edited by Alexander Stephen, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1993. Contributor of stories to Atlantic, Esquire, New Yorker, Ikon, Genesis West, Accent, and other periodicals.

FURTHER READINGS

BOOKS
  • Arcana, Judith, Grace Paley's Life Stories: A Literary Biography, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1993.
  • Bach, Gerhard, and Blaine H. Hall, editors, Conversations with Grace Paley, University Press of Mississippi (Oxford, MS), 1997.
  • Baxter, Charles, "Maps and Legends of Hell: Notes on Melodrama," in Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction, Graywolf Press (St. Paul, MN), 1997.
  • Benbow-Pfalzgraf, Taryn, editor, American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000, pp. 247-248.
  • Binder, Wolfgang, and Helmbrecht Breinig, editors, American Contradictions: Interviews with Nine American Writers, Wesleyan University Press (Hanover, NH), 1995.
  • Brown, Rosellen, "You Are Not Here Long," in Letters to a Fiction Writer, edited by Frederick Busch, Norton (New York, NY), 1995.
  • Charters, Ann, editor, "A Conversation with Grace Paley," in The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction, 4th edition, Bedford Books (Boston, MA), 1995.
  • Criswell, Jeanne Sallade, "Cynthia Ozick and Grace Paley: Diverse Visions in Jewish and Women's Literature," in Contemporary American Short Story, edited by Loren Longsdon and Charles W. Mayer, Western Illinois University Press (Macomb, IL), 1987.
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 28: Twentieth-Century American-Jewish Fiction Writers, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1984, pp. 225-31.
  • Gelfant, B. H., "Grace Paley: A Portrait in Collage," in Women Writing in America,University Press of New England (Hanover, NH), 1984.
  • Isaacs, Neil David, Grace Paley: A Study of the Short Fiction, Twayne (Boston, MA), 1990.
  • Klinkowitz, Jerome, editor, Structuring the Void: The Struggle for Subject in Contemporary American Fiction, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 1985.
  • Mickelson, Anne Z., Reaching Out: Sensitivity and Order in Recent American Fiction by Women, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 1979.
  • Parini, Jay, American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies, Charles Scribner's Sons (New York, NY), 2001, pp. 217-233.
  • Rosen, Norma, Accidents of Influence: Writing As a Woman and a Jew in America,State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 1992.
  • Taylor, Jacqueline, Grace Paley: Illuminating the Dark Lives, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1990.
  • Todd, Janet, editor, Women Writers Talking, Holmes & Meier, 1983, pp. 35-56.
PERIODICALS
  • American Poetry Review, March, 1994, p. 19.
  • American Studies International, October, 1997, p. 102.
  • Antioch Review, winter, 1999, John Kennedy, review of Just As I Thought, p. 108.
  • Booklist, March 1, 1998, p. 1086; February 1, 2000, Donna Seaman, review of Begin Again, p. 1005.
  • Chicago Tribune, April 21, 1985, pp. 54-58.
  • Commentary, August, 1985.
  • Commonweal, October 25, 1968; May 20, 1994, p. 33.
  • Delta, May, 1982, Jerome Klinkowitz, "The Sociology of Metafiction," p. 290.
  • Entertainment Weekly, July 30, 1999, review of Just As I Thought, p. 65.
  • Esquire, November, 1970.
  • Forward, April 15, 1994.
  • Genesis West, fall, 1963.
  • Guardian (London), August 21, 1999, Isobel Montgomery, review of The Collected Stories, p. 11; December 4, 2000, James Hopkin, "Genre: Grace x 3," p. 22.
  • Harper's, June, 1974.
  • Hudson Review, autumn, 1985, Clara Claiborne Park, "Faith, Grace, and Love," pp. 481-488.
  • Journal of Ethnic Studies, fall, 1983, Rose Kamel, "To Aggravate the Conscience: Grace Paley's Loud Voice," pp. 29-49.
  • Library Journal, February 15, 1998, p. 143.
  • London Review of Books, August, 19, 1999, review of Just As I Thought, p. 32.
  • Los Angeles Times, May 22, 1985.
  • Los Angeles Times Book Review, May 19, 1985.
  • Massachusetts Review, winter, 1985, Peter Marchant and Earl Ingersoll, "A Conversation with Grace Paley," pp. 606-614.
  • Milwaukee Journal, May 5, 1974.
  • Ms., May, 1974, Harriet Shapiro, "Grace Paley: 'Art Is on the Side of the Underdog,'" pp. 43-45.
  • Nation, May 11, 1974, Burton Bendow, "Voices in the Metropolis," pp. 597-598; May 11, 1998, p. 38.
  • New Criterion, September, 1994.
  • New Republic, March 16, 1974; April 29, 1985, pp. 38-39; June 29, 1998, p. 35.
  • New Statesman, March 14, 1980.
  • Newsweek, March 11, 1974; April 15, 1985; April 25, 1994, p. 64.
  • New York, April 11, 1994, p. 64.
  • New Yorker, June 27, 1959.
  • New York Review of Books, March 21, 1974; August 15, 1985, pp. 26-29; August 11, 1994, p. 23.
  • New York Times, March 23, 1968, p. 29; February 28, 1974; April 10, 1985, p. C20; November 14, 1986.
  • New York Times Book Review, April 19, 1959, pp. 28-29; March 17, 1974; April 14, 1985, Robert R. Harris, "Pacifists with Their Dukes Up," p. 7; September 22, 1991; April 19, 1992, p. 10; April 24, 1994, p. 7; May 3, 1994; August 11, 1994; April 19, 1998; June 21, 1998; February 27, 2000, Adam Kirsch, "Lover of Justice, All Kinds," p. 22.
  • Observer (London), January 17, 1993.
  • Partisan Review, spring, 1975, pp. 303-6; Volume 48, number 2, 1981, Marianne DeKoven, "Mrs. Hegel-Shtein's Tears," pp. 217-223.
  • People Weekly, February 26, 1979, Kristin McMurran, "Even Admiring Peers Worry That Grace Paley Writes Too Little and Protests Too Much."
  • Poetry, April, 1994, p. 39.
  • Progressive, November 1, 1997, p. 36; December, 1998, p. 41.
  • Publishers Weekly, April 5, 1985, pp. 71-72; June 18, 1991; October, 1991; Begin Again,p. 58.
  • Regionalism and the Female Imagination, winter, 1979, E. M. Broner, "The Dirty Ladies: Earthy Writings of Contemporary American Women—Paley, Jong, Schor, and Lerman," pp. 34, 41.
  • Ruminator Review, fall, 2001, Kate Moos, "Forms of Invention," p. 49.
  • Saturday Review, April 27, 1968, pp. 29-30; March 23, 1974.
  • Sewanee Review, Volume 81, 1974, William Peden, "The Recent American Short Story," pp. 712-729.
  • Shenandoah, Volume 27, 1976, Donald Barthelme, William Gass, Grace Paley, and Walker Percy, "A Symposium on Fiction," pp. 3-31; Volume 32, 1981, Joan Lidoff, "Clearing Her Throat: An Interview with Grace Paley," pp. 3-26.
  • Studies in American Jewish Literature, Volume 2, 1982, Adam J. Sorkin, "'What Are We, Animals?' Grace Paley's World of Talk and Laughter," p. 144; spring, 1988, Minako Baba, "Faith Darwin As Writer-Heroine: A Study of Grace Paley's Short Stories," pp. 40-54.
  • Studies in Short Fiction, winter, 1994.
  • Threepenny Review, fall, 1980, pp. 4-6.
  • Time, April 29, 1974; April 15, 1985; January 27, 1986, pp. 74-77.
  • Times (London), November 7, 1985; September 26, 1987; July 22, 1999, Iain Finlayson, "A Fight for Peace," p. 45.
  • Times Literary Supplement, February 14, 1975; November 22, 1985.
  • Vanity Fair, March, 1998, p. 220.
  • Village Voice, March 14, 1974.
  • Voice Literary Supplement, June, 1985, pp. 9-10; September, 1992, p. 5.
  • Washington Post, April 14, 1985, David Remnick, "Grace Paley: Voice from the Village," pp. C1, 14; November 15, 1986.
  • Washington Post Book World, April 28, 1985, p. C1.
OTHER
  • Salon, http://www.salon.com/11/departments/litchat1.html/ (1996) Wendy Lesser, "Writing with Both Ears," conversation with the author; http://www.salon.com/books/interviews/ (October 26, 1998) A. M. Homes, "All My Habits Are Bad," author interview.