Chapter 10: Late Twentieth Century
and Postmodernism

Terry Southern
1924-1995

© Paul P. Reuben
June 17, 2014
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Outside Link: | Interviews with TS | Tribute to Ter: memoir by Nile |

Page Links: | Primary Works | A Brief Biography | Selected Bibliography 1980-Present | MLA Style Citation of this Web Page |

Site Links: | Chap. 10: Index | Alphabetical List | Table Of Contents | Home Page |  

 

Primary Works

Books:
1958 Flash and Filigree
1958 Candy
1959 The Magic Christian
1960 Writers in Revolt
1965 Journal of The Loved One (with William Claxton)
1967 Red Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes
1970 Blue Movie
1992 Texas Summer

Screenplays:

1964 Dr. Strangelove (with Stanley Kubrick and Peter George)
1965 The Loved One (with Christopher Isherwood)
1965 The Collector (rewrite)
1966 The Cincinatti Kid (rewrite)
1967 Barbarella
1968 Easy Rider
1969 End Of The Road
1970 The Magic Christian
1975 Stop Thief!(teleplay; with William Claxton)
1986 The Telephone (with Harry Nilsson)
A Brief Biography

compiled by his son Nile Southern and included here at his request.

Terry Southern (1924-1995) began writing satiric, outrageous fiction at the age of 12, when he rewrote Edgar Allan Poe stories "because they didn't go far enough". After serving in the Army as a Lieutenant in World War II, he wrote short stories while studying at the Sorbonne. "The Accident," published in the premier issue of The Paris Review, was the first short story to appear in that magazine. He admired and befriended British novelist Henry Greene, who convinced Andre Deutch to publish his first novel, Flash and Filigree (1958).

Residing with his first wife Carol in Geneva, he conjured the surrealistic exploits for trillionaire trickster "Grand Guy Guy Grand" in The Magic Christian (1959) while at the same time writing Candy (1960) for Maurice Girodias' Olympia Press. He and Gregory Corso brought Naked Lunch to Girodias, convincing him to print it. He published numerous short stories in England, France and America, (anthologized in Red Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes; 1967), and co-editedWriters in Revolt with Alex Trocci and Richard Seaver in 1962.

After settling in an old farmhouse in East Canaan, Connecticut, Stanley Kubrick, upon the recommedation of Peter Sellers, invited him to employ his satirical touch to Dr. Strangelove (1964). A rewarding period in Hollywood followed, writing dialog for:The Loved One (1965), The Collector, Cincinatti Kid (1966), Casino Royale and Barbarella (1967). Terry helped launch the Independent film movement by co-authoring Easy Rider (1968), and co-producing The End Of The Road (1969), filmed entirely on-location in the Berkshires.

After the quiet publication surrounding Blue Movie (1970), he turned to screenwriting full-time, working on original scripts, adaptations, and speculative assignments throughout the 70s and 80s. During this difficult period, when films and "quality-lit" (a phrase he coined) favored blockbusters, the IRS repeatedly attempted to reclaim over $150,000 in unpaid taxes from the mid-sixties. He was hired in the early-eighties by Michael O'Donohough to write for Saturday Night Live, and wrote The Telephone (1986) with singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson. As legitimate film work grew increasingly elusive, Terry taught Screenwriting at both NYU and Columbia University from the late 80s until his death. His last novel, Texas Summer, was released by Richard Seaver in 1992. Grove has recently reissued his first four novels.

Selected Bibliography 1980-Present

McGilligan, Pat. ed. Backstory 3: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1960s. Berkeley: U of California P, 1997.

Parini, Jay. ed. American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies, Supplement XI: Toni Cade Bambara to Richard Yates. NY: Scribner's, 2002. (Niemi, Robert. "Terry Southern 1924-1995.")

Pratt, Alan R. ed. Black Humor: Critical Essays. NY: Garland, 1993.

Tully, David. Terry Southern and the American Grotesque. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2010.

MLA Style Citation of this Web Page

Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 10: Terry Southern." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. URL:http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap10/southern.html (provide page date or date of your login).
 

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