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A Grand Guy: The Art and Life of Terry Southern
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Lee Hill
A Grand Guy: The Art and Life of Terry Southern by Lee Hill at Galaxy Bookshop,

A Grand Guy: The Art and Life of Terry Southern

Lee Hill



Reference » Fantasy Biographical

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352 pages

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Terry Southern was the hipster's hipster, the perfect icon of cool. A small-town Texan, he disdained his roots and bopped with the Beats, hobnobbed with Sartre and Camus, and had William Faulkner for a friend. He was considered one of the most creative and original players writing for the Paris Review , and yet his greatest literary success was the semipornographic pulp novel, Candy . With screenwriting credits second to none (he wrote Dr Strangelove with Stanley Kubrick, Easy Rider with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, and worked on Saturday Night Live) and the author of such novels as The Magic Christian and Blue Movie , Terry Southern created some of the most enduring landmarks of popular culture. He was friends with celebrities such as Lenny Bruce, William Burroughs, the Beatles (Southern is the one wearing glasses on the cover of Sgt. Pepper), the Rolling Stones, Stanley Kubrick, (he suggested the Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange ), Dennis Hopper, Rip Torn, Larry Rivers and George Plimpton. A veritable cultural time capsule, Southern's life was integral to the avant-garde on 1950s Paris, the Beat years, swinging London, Greenwich Village, literary New York and Big Bad Hollywood throughout the psychedelic 1960s. Brilliant, dynamic, irrepressible, he enjoyed remarkable success and then squandered it with almost superhuman excess. In this biography, Lee Hill explores the highs and lows of Terry Southern. It is an intimate portrait of an unequalled satirist, whose aim, as he took potshots at America's repressive political culture, upper-class amorality, and middle-class banality, was sure and true. A Grand Guy reveals the story of Terry Southern - outrageous, unpredictable, charming, erudite, eternally cool and one of the most enigmatic and fascinating characters from the latter half of the 20th century.

By:   Lee Hill
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   New edition
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 34mm
Weight:   280g
ISBN:   9780747558354
ISBN 10:   0747558353
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   September 2002
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Other merchandise
Publisher's Status:   Active

Author Website:

Lee Hill has written about literature, film, music, and popular culture for newspapers, magazines, and radio for more than a decade. He first interviewed Terry Southern in 1990, which led to a long friendship and this project. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Lee Hill's conversations with Terry Southern from 1990 till his death in 1995 have helped form this biography of the under-celebrated man of the counterculture, the screenplay-writer behind Dr Strangelove, Barbarella and Easy Rider - and the writer of 'Quality Lit' erotica. Southern was born in Texas but, like Janis Joplin or Robert Rauschenberg, had an odd relationship with his home state: he was the intellectual anti-racist growing up in red-neck territory. His home was both magical and stifling. In Texas Summer he writes of 'the scorpion beneath the yellow rose'; the darkness behind the beauty always fascinated him. Southern eschewed Texas, not even visiting between 1946, when he moved to Paris to rub shoulders with left-bank intellectuals and artistes, and 1993 - apart from a stop-off on a Rolling Stones tour. But Hill is keenly aware that Southern was influenced by England as well as Paris. Southern was stationed at Reading during the Second World War as a demolitions technician, and was able to visit London often where he became fond of the English predilection for irony, dry wit and fantasy under the genteel and reserved facade. It's not surprising that he later worked with John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Peter Sellers. In his writing he was interested in style and form while his American contemporaries favoured a sustained naturalist voice. His mentor was the formal, experimental novelist Henry Green, and he cultivated 'the attitude of an independently wealthy Oxford don without the snobbishness or affectation'. Hill does justice to the irony and elegance that informed this avuncular, 'grand' man, despite the fascination in his writings for excess of all kinds. This is a straight biography written with affection and insight, and will drive new readers back to this contradictory writerly talent nowadays more appreciated for being the guy in shades on the cover of Sergeant Pepper. (Kirkus UK)

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