The Orton Diaries: Including the Correspondence of Edna Welthorpe and Others

John Orton, Author, Joe Orton, Author, John Lahr, Editor HarperCollins Publishers $19.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-015743-2
Orton, the bad boy of British theater (Entertaining Mr. Sloan, etc.), kept a journal during the eight months before he was murdered in 1967 by his homosexual lover at age 34. This diary reflects the playwright's nose-tweaking at the establishment and his increasing disdain for conventional morality. It also graphically records his multiple sexual adventures in and out of public lavatories. Included are comments on Crimes of Passion and What the Butler Saw, both of which he was working on during these months. Although there are some fascinating tidbits, such as his encounter with the Beatles, and witty asides (Orton calls the New Yorker ""the epitaph of America''), this dreary daybook lacks the personal or artistic insights one would hope to find in it. Lahr, whose biography of Orton (Prick Up Your Ears is to be filmed, analyzes the dramatist's deteriorating relationship with his lover in an introduction. 15,000 first printing. Major ad/promo. First serial to Vanity Fair. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1987
Release date: 05/01/1987
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