The literary friendship shows its cracks in recent letters

Harper Lee Paints Capote as a Jealous Liar


Best friends Harper Lee and Truman Capote were major literary figures during the 20th century. They were childhood friends and often looked to the other for inspiration and editing, but they had a rocky friendship. Lee played a major role in editing Capote’s hit, In Cold Blood, and felt both hurt and slighted that he didn’t give her any credit. A 2006 letter to Wayne Flynt from Ms. Lee examines the trouble in their famous relationship. Flynt and Lee became great friends during the last 25 years of Lee’s life. Flynt was even a keynote speaker at her funeral. 


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Lee disclosed that her literary companion, Capote, was a compulsive liar. She claimed “If you said ‘Did you know JFK was shot?’ He’d easily answer, ‘Yes I was in the car he was riding in.” But this was on the lighter side of Lee’s complaints about her old friend, as jealousy and drinking embittered him and put a strain on their relationship. 


To Kill a Mockingbird has sold over 40 million copies since it was published. Lee claims Capote harbored envy just because she was selling books. Flynt’s book Mockingbird Song: My Friendship with Harper Lee coming out May 2nd will go into detail about this relationship and all other aspects of the author’s life that were never discussed due to reclusiveness.  


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