Yours in Haste and Adoration: Selected Letters of Terry Southern

Terry Southern, edited by Nile Southern and Brooke Allen. Antibookclub $65 (368p) ISBN 978-0-9838683-9-2
The first letter in this lively collection—a tongue-in-cheek complaint to the Paris Review about the editing of an obscenity from one of Southern's short stories—sets the tone for the satire and scatological humor that lace the hundreds of letters that follow. Southern, (1924-1995), who worked on the screenplays for Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider, co-wrote the comical erotic novel Candy, and eventually contributed to Saturday Night Live, was a multitalented artist whose correspondents included George Plimpton (playfully dubbed "an Ichabod dandy"), Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Malcolm Cowley, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Lenny Bruce, and Stanley Kubrick, to name but a few. Ever the gadfly, he delighted in writing prank letters (both under his own name and pseudonyms) to publications like National Lampoon, Ms. Magazine, and the New York Times. In his more serious moments, Southern cogently dissects the aesthetic differences between film and novels for William Styron, and ably defends offensiveness to John Marquand by noting that "if a thing is actually funny, then it cannot be in bad taste." Spanning the years 1953 to 1995, these letters provide a candid glimpse of a writer whose provocations helped to shape post-WWII American culture. Agent: Susan Schulman, Susan Schulman Literary Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/18/2016
Release date: 11/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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