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Article: Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany's

One of Truman Capote’s most popular and famous works is his novella chronicling the adventures of the free-spirited Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The short story gives the reader a look into Holly’s life, from the perspective of the curious narrator. Her free spirit and wistfulness allure us, in the timeless masterpiece from Capote. 

Truman Capote was born in New Orleans and educated in New York and Connecticut. He worked in the Art Department of The New Yorker and as a writer on a television show before going on his own as a full-time writer. His first novel at age 24, Other Voices, Other Rooms, brought him literary fame and a strong following, which continued throughout his life, reaching a peak with the success of his "non-fiction” true crime novel In Cold Blood. Capote’s story, Shut a Final Door, won the O. Henry award in 1946.

Capote originally sold his story Breakfast at Tiffany's to Harper's Bazaar for $2,000, with intended publication in its July 1958 issue. Shortly after the publication was scheduled, Harper's editor Carmel Snow was ousted by the magazine's publisher, the Hearst Corporation, and Hearst executives began asking for changes to the novella's language. There was concern among the executives that Tiffany's & Co., a major advertiser, would react negatively to the work. The story was removed from Harper's publication schedule. However, Capote soon resold the work to Esquire for $3,000. His novella then appeared in Esquire’s November 1958 issue. 

A collection of the Breakfast at Tiffany’s novella and three short stories by Capote was published by Random House in the same year. The novella received glowing reviews. 

"If you want to capture a period in New York, no other book has done it so well. He could capture a period and place like few others" (Norman Mailer). 

The novella was quickly adapted for the 1961 hit film starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. Capote originally pictured Marilyn Monroe in the role of Holly, and he lobbied the studio for her. However, the film was done at Paramount studios, and despite the author’s wishes, Monroe was contractually committed to Twentieth Century Fox at the time and could not take the role.

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