Friday, February 03, 2006

great writer vs great book

I went to see "Capote" last week (I was expecting a so-so movie with a great performance by PSH - was pleasantly surprised that the movie itself was very good and while PSH is getting all the deserved hype, there were also several other excellent performances) and was reflecting on the post-script at the end of the film, which was that he never completed another book after "in cold blood". Since that book was published in 1963/1964 and he died in 1984, I was rather surprised by this revelation. That got me to thinking, then why is he considered such a great writer, because while he is reputed to be one of the great authors of our time, "in cold blood" is the only thing I can name that he wrote. I know he had to have written something before "in cold blood", but it obviously hasn't registered with me. Can a writer get the label of "great" just by writing one great book? Or, should the book be labeled as great, not the author?

One of my fellow SSJ's I believe will argue that if one writes a great book, then said author is therefore great. I'm not sure I would agree, yet I can see both sides of the argument. If Shakespeare (assuming that he did write everything attributed to him) only had written one play (let's assume that play was "Hamlet"), should he be labeled as great? The play itself is.
But, if the one play were, say, "Twelfth Night", then would he?


Scooter said...

I read In Cold Blood in high school an loved it.

Amazon lists a lot of books by Capote including, who knew, Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Scooter said...

And Other Voices, Other Rooms...I've heard of that one, too.

Scooter said...
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