From December 1966 until his murder in August 1967, Joe Orton kept a series of diaries, which are one of the most candid and unfettered accounts of that remarkable era. The diaries chronicle frankly and hilariously the literary successes (capped with an Evening Standard Award and overtures from the Beatles), the rejection of all conventions, and the astonishing sexual adventures (at his mother's funeral...with a dwarf in Brighton...) of a true literary iconoclast who believed there was no sense in being a rebel without applause.
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Joe Orton was born on a housing estate in Leicester in 1933. He joined RADA in 1951, where he met his mentor and lover Kenneth Halliwell. Living on the dole (and briefly in prison, for defacing library books) the two collaborated on novels, though Orton's solo writing brought him more fame. During his short life he rose to fame as one of England's most provocative young dramatists and epitomised London in the swinging 1960s. His openly gay lifestyle has turned him into an iconic figure. He was murdered by Halliwell in 1967.John Lahr is the author of the biography of Joe Orton, Prick Up Your Ears. He also wrote the biography of his father the comedian Bert Lahr, Notes on a Cowardly Lion, as well as the critical study, Coward the Playwright. His novels are The Autograph Hound and Hot to Trot. He has published three collections of essays, Acting Out in America, Astonish Me and Automatic Vaudeville, of which the London Review of Books said he was 'the Leavis of the performing arts'.From Publishers Weekly:
Orton, the bad boy of British theater (Entertaining Mr. Sloan, etc.), kept a journal during the eight months before he was murdered in 1967 by his homosexual lover at age 34. This diary reflects the playwright's nose-tweaking at the establishment and his increasing disdain for conventional morality. It also graphically records his multiple sexual adventures in and out of public lavatories. Included are comments on Crimes of Passion and What the Butler Saw, both of which he was working on during these months. Although there are some fascinating tidbits, such as his encounter with the Beatles, and witty asides (Orton calls the New Yorker "the epitaph of America"), this dreary daybook lacks the personal or artistic insights one would hope to find in it. Lahr, whose biography of Orton (Prick Up Your Ears is to be filmed, analyzes the dramatist's deteriorating relationship with his lover in an introduction. 15,000 first printing. Major ad/promo. First serial to Vanity Fair.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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