Why Harper Lee kept her silence for 55 years
At first glance, Harper Lee's friendship with Truman Capote looks unlikely. Lee and Capote both had strained relationships with their mothers as children. Harper Lee has died only a few months after the publication of To Kill a writer, Truman Capote – that, indeed, they were neighbours as children. from its loving delineation of the relationships and tensions in a small town. Harper Lee, who died today at age 89, and Truman Capote, who died in if they ever patched their relationship up before Capote's death.
It also ignores the way in which writers encourage, criticise, develop each other by proximity. That is true not just of Lee and Capote, but of Lee and the whole Southern school of novelists. She could hardly have predicted that she would quickly come to be seen as the epitome and climax of the grand Southern tradition.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a great novel and, unusually, was quickly made into a great film Gregory Peck and his family subsequently became close friends with Lee. Rex Features What stays in the memory of To Kill a Mockingbird are the grand coups — Scout unknowingly deflecting a lynching, or the great moment when the Reverend Sykes, after the verdict, says to Scout: That is the direction she would have gone in, and what we have lost in her subsequent silence.
The novelist of social texture, of the quiet relationships between people, is perhaps one peculiarly vulnerable to the impact of fame.
A novelist who had become a celebrity would find it almost impossible to pursue their task of listening, of modest disappearance into the background, of observation. Some writers manage to tough it out; others find the weight of expectation impossible to manage. The cynic would say that Harper Lee, with a novel which still sells millions every year, over half a century after its publication, hardly needed to go on writing anyway. Would she have wanted her career to work out like this?
Why Harper Lee kept her silence for 55 years
But writing is not like hedge-fund trading. The author who voluntarily retires from writing, after having made a pile, is a rare creature; it is the strangest of facts about Shakespeare that he stopped writing, apparently of his free will, at the height of his artistic powers after The Tempest, and retired to Stratford.
Rex Features Much more common is the writer who is effectively destroyed by a single huge success. The burden of fame and acclaim weighs down particularly on the creative faculties.
The task of balancing the awareness of past success with the necessary task of producing new work is not one that every writer can achieve. Lee has succeeded in protecting herself over the last half-century, and living a life which is of her choosing.
Harper Lee - Wikipedia
It is the paradox of the novel that it could not have been written by someone in love with literary fame; that the fame it achieved and deserved killed off any prospect of a succeeding masterpiece.
Kilpatrickthe editor of The Richmond News Leaderstarted the Beadle Bumble fund to pay fines for victims of what he termed "despots on the bench". He built the fund using contributions from readers and later used it to defend books as well as people. After the board in Richmond ordered schools to dispose of all copies of To Kill a Mockingbird, Kilpatrick wrote, "A more moral novel scarcely could be imagined.
Bush presented Lee with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the highest civilian award in the United States and recognizes individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors".
Thomas Lane Butts said Lee now lived in an assisted-living facility, wheelchair-bound, partially blind and deaf, and suffering from memory loss. Butts also shared that Lee told him why she never wrote again: Second, I have said what I wanted to say, and I will not say it again.
- Harper Lee
- Inside Harper Lee and Truman Capote's Friendship
Lee claimed that the man "engaged in a scheme to dupe" her into assigning him the copyright on the book in when her hearing and eyesight were in decline, and she was residing in an assisted-living facility after having suffered a stroke. The suit alleged that the museum had used her name and the title To Kill a Mockingbird to promote itself and to sell souvenirs without her consent.
This prompted Lee's attorney to file a lawsuit on October 15 that same year, "which takes issue the museum's website and gift shop, which it accuses of 'palming off its goods', including T-shirts, coffee mugs other various trinkets with Mockingbird brands. Go Set a Watchman According to Lee's lawyer Tonja Carter, following an initial meeting to appraise Lee's assets inshe re-examined Lee's safe-deposit box in and found the manuscript for Go Set a Watchman.
After contacting Lee and reading the manuscript, she passed it on to Lee's agent Andrew Nurnberg. According to a HarperCollins press release, it was originally thought that the Watchman manuscript was lost. Michiko Kakutani in Books of The Times article  finds that the book "makes for disturbing reading" when Scout is shocked to find Though it lacks the lyricism In Februarythe State of Alabama, through its Human Resources Department, launched an investigation into whether Lee was competent enough to consent to the publishing of Go Set a Watchman.
Life with Harper Lee, a friend and former neighbor, painted a very different picture. She described Lee as "in a wheelchair in an assisted living center, nearly deaf and blind, with a uniformed guard posted at the door" and her visitors "restricted to those on an approved list.
They said she knew full well that it was the same one submitted to Tay Hohoff in the s that was reworked into Mockingbird, and that Lee's lawyer Tonja Carter had been sitting on the discovery, waiting for the moment when she, and not Alice, would be in charge of Harper Lee's affairs. Responding to the question of how he thought his father would have reacted to the book, he said that he "would have appreciated the discussion the book has prompted, but would have been troubled by the decision to publish it.
She gave him the pocket watch that had belonged to her father, on whom she modeled Atticus and that Gregory wore it the night he won an Oscar for the role. If he had to, he would have flown down to talk to her. I have no doubt.
Inside Harper Lee and Truman Capote's Friendship - ABC News
Do you want to put that early version out there or do you want to put it in the University of Alabama archives for scholars to look at? They argued that wills filed in a probate court are considered part of the public record, and that Lee's should follow suit.
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