> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 15 May 2013
  • ISBN: 9780812994391
  • Imprint: Random House USA
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $39.99

Portraits And Observations

The Essays Of Truman Capote


Formats & editions


Perhaps no twentieth-century writer was so observant and graceful a chronicler of his times as Truman Capote. Portraits and Observations is the first volume devoted solely to all the essays ever published by this most beloved of writers. Included are such masterpieces of narrative nonfiction as “The Muses Are Heard” and the short nonfiction novel “Handcarved Coffins,” as well as many long-out-of-print essays, including portraits of Mae West, Humphrey Bogart, and Marilyn Monroe. From his travel sketches of Brooklyn, New Orleans, and Hollywood, written when he was twenty-two, to the author’s last written words, “Remembering Willa Cather,” composed the day before his death in 1984, Portraits and Observations puts on display the full spectrum of Truman Capote’s brilliance. Certainly Capote was, as Somerset Maugham famously called him, “a stylist of the first quality.” But as the pieces gathered here remind us, he was also an artist of remarkable substance.

  • Pub date: 15 May 2013
  • ISBN: 9780812994391
  • Imprint: Random House USA
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $39.99

About the Author

Truman Capote

Truman Capote was born in New Orleans in 1924 and was raised in various parts of the south, his family spending winters in New Orleans and summers in Alabama and New Georgia. By the age of fourteen he had already started writing short stories, some of which were published. He left school when he was fifteen and subsequently worked for the New Yorker which provided his first - and last - regular job. Following his spell with the New Yorker, Capote spent two years on a Louisiana farm where he wrote Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948). He lived, at one time or another, in Greece, Italy, Africa and the West Indies, and travelled in Russia and the Orient. He is the author of many highly praised books, including A Tree of Night and Other Stories (1949), The Grass Harp (1951), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958), In Cold Blood (1965), which immediately became the centre of a storm of controversy on its publication, Music for Chameleons (1980) and Answered Prayers (1986), all of which are published by Penguin. Truman Capote died in August 1984.

Also by Truman Capote

See all

Praise for Portraits And Observations

““A must-have treasure for Capote fans . . . These are delicious, dramatic, and tender nonfiction portraits and tales.”–NPR’s Morning Edition“A wonderful volume . . . Nearly every page can be read with real pleasure. . . . No matter what his subject, [Capote’s] canny, careful art gives it warm and breathing life”  –The Washington Post Book World“Every piece is a treasure. . . . Pages and pages of remarkably evocative, careful and well-observed prose [delineate,] in a measured and elegant manner, one of the most remarkable American literary lives of the twentieth century.” –Jane Smiley, Los Angeles Times Book Review”


Related titles