James Purdy Has Died

Sad news. James Purdy has died. Purdy's great novella Malcolm was published 50 years ago, and found favour immediately with a slapdash cabal of wits, misfits and weird modernists - but was equally ignored by the more "preppy" (his words) crowd.

I read Malcolm at 14, and it had an instant effect - its grotesque flamboyant perversity enchanted me. Oddly enough, I never read more of him after that - you know how polymorphous teen readers are - there were others to curl up in bed with.

Still, reading about his career again in the New York Times obituary it struck me as surprising he had lived so long, and been quite so marginal.
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