[PW] Request Provincetown Review circa 1960: Quote: It simply is not writing. It is, it is only typing. Truman Capote

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Tue Sep 8 17:21:50 PDT 2015

Literary figure Truman Capote famously assailed the spontaneous prose
style of beat generation icon Jack Kerouac with the following remark
(or something similar):

That's not writing; that's typing.

Fred Shapiro's "Yale Book of Quotations" has a great citation dated
February 9, 1959 in "The New Republic". I recently found an earlier
instance in the syndicated column of Leonard Lyons which was published
by January 27, 1959. Details are given further below in the addendum.

This message is about a different citation. It is a request for your
help. The goal is to construct a complete and accurate citation for
another early instance of Capote's remark. This information below is
based on Google Books snippets. Scans would be great, but visual
verification is ok.

The target journal employed three different names in its early
history: "Provincetown Quarterly", "The Provincetown Annual", and
"Provincetown Review". I think the quotation appeared in the journal
when it was called "The Provincetown Annual" which catalog data
indicates occurred at volume 1, number 2. The year seems to be 1959 or

Google Books lists a page number of 104 for the quotation; however, I
think the accurate page number is 22 (or nearby).

The article with the quotation slams the beat writers and includes a
review of "The Subterraneans" by Jack Kerouac.

Year: 1958 to 1961
Journal: Provincetown Quarterly, The Provincetown Annual, Provincetown Review,
Volume 1, Issues 1-4
Publisher: New York, New York, Provincetown Review
Quote Page 104 (Might really be page 22)
Page Header: The Provincetown Annual
Database: Google Books snippet; data may be inaccurate; the article
with the quotation includes a review of "The Subterraneans" by Jack

[Begin excerpt]
This is a distinct drawback, for Kerouac's writing thrives on the
constant change brought about by pointless travel. This novel bears
out a recent remark by Truman Capote on the Beat Generation writers,
"It is not writing. It simply is not writing. It is, it is only
typing." What more can one say?

The Beat Generation is hardly worth a consideration as brief as the
one above. The bulk of the Beat Generation are not artists, they are
artistic frauds.
[End excerpt]

Here is a link to the volume with the quotation:

Here is a link that shows a snippet with the quotation and the page
number 104 (which should probably be 22):
Short link:   http://bit.ly/1NWvSA4


If your library has this journal and you are willing to help please
contact me off-list or on-list.

Note about interlibrary loan: Why not use interlibrary loan? When an
inquiry is complex and only partial data is available it is difficult
to use the interlibrary loan system. Libraries typically will not send
out bound volumes of journals. In addition, if you do not already have
a precise citation the request is sometimes rejected.

Thanks, Garson

Addendum: Here is the version of Capote's quotation given by Leonard Lyons.

[ref] 1959 January 27, Daily Defender, Lyons Den by Leonard Lyons (The
Hall Syndicate),  Quote Page 5, Column 1, Chicago, Illinois.

[Begin excerpt]
THE DIFFERENCE: Truman Capote agreed to appear on David Susskinds
"Open End" show, with Norman Mailer -- who kept praising the
Beat-Generation writers. Capote thought their product worthless. "It's
nothing," he said. "That's not writing; that's just typewriting."
[End excerpt]

Best, Garson

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