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Elaine Dundy

Geburtstag: 1. August 1921
Todesdatum: 1. Mai 2008

Elaine Dundy, geboren als Elaine Rita Brimberg, war eine US-amerikanische Schriftstellerin, Biographin, Journalistin und Schauspielerin. Wikipedia

Zitate Elaine Dundy

„I kept crying, knowing that I would never go back to seeing what I used to see.“

—  Elaine Dundy

"Out of the Darkness" in The Guardian (18 March 2006) <!-- DEAD LINK http://www.elainedundy.com/Guardian/guardian.html -->
Kontext: Sitting in the impressive high-ceilinged hall, an examiner had just given me the test on my eyes, which I failed again. She was talking to me but I was distracted by a blind man with dark glasses walking at some distance from me, his white cane clattering, echoing as it tap tapped away on the floor. What the examiner was repeating — and these are her exact words — was: "There is no cause and no cure for AMD yet." The dam burst. I began to cry, tears running down my face, sudden, unstoppable, embarrassing. In the restroom, I collapsed. My arms were shaking, my fingers stiffened, froze, and then tingled. My stomach was in an uproar. And I kept crying, knowing that I would never go back to seeing what I used to see.
I felt hopeless, defenceless; worst of all, I felt timid. I was crying for my dead self. Up to now I'd been congratulating myself for bearing up so well. Now I realised this was because the ophthalmologists always referred to AMD as a disease. For me it meant there would be a cure. Now I knew there would be no new glasses, no medication, no surgery.

„I didn't know Elvis was alive until he was dead.“

—  Elaine Dundy

As quoted in "Interview: Elaine Dundy, celebrated author of the seminal book, Elvis & Gladys: Genesis of The King, talks to EIN" (2004) http://www.elvisinfonet.com/dundy1.html
Kontext: I didn't know Elvis was alive until he was dead. But how many stories are like mine? Until his death August 16, 1977, it was possible to get through a day without hearing his name. Of course I remember all the early outrage he caused but believe me it was easy not to see any of his films. It doesn't mean that music has not always dominated my heart and mind. During the years barren of Elvis I did have my record player on constantly but it was playing folk, blues, and jazz. It was playing Al Jolson, Maurice Chevalier, Billie Holiday, Ethel Merman, and Noel Coward. The human voice raised in song has always been important to me so I include Miles Davis whose trumpet is such an important human voice. Then after his death in London in taxis, on radio and TV I heard nothing but Elvis records and that grabbed my attention.

„I thought, this title is mine, and it was.“

—  Elaine Dundy

Afterword to The Dud Avocado (2006)
Kontext: Halfway through writing the book, I still had no title. It came wonderfully into being when I complimented my host at a party on his flourishing avocado plant. I said, I’d kept trying and failing with my own avocado pits. Someone said, what you’ve got is a dud avocado, and Ken said, that’s a good title for a novel. I thought, this title is mine, and it was. Ken and I had the same agent, and for a publisher we decided on Victor Gollancz, who was so good with first novels. Wonderfully, he accepted it, but with several caveats. He didn’t like the title. It sounded like a cookbook. He also wanted me to write under my married name. I said no to both. He accepted. He decided it needed a subtitle, "La Vie Amoureuse of Sally Jay in Paris." I said, Oh no, no! He said, this was the first time in his experience that an unknown writer had complained about a book cover. However, he did put on the book’s jacket that the subtitle was the publisher’s. Ken read it in proof and said, "You’ve got a thumping great best-seller here." Curiously, the first thing I felt was relief. I believed him. No one could predict how a play or novel would be received by the public like Ken could. And only then was I set free to let excitement take hold of me.

„At some point in my life I realized I knew only celebrities, I didn't know any real people.“

—  Elaine Dundy

Life Itself (2001)
Kontext: At some point in my life I realized I knew only celebrities, I didn't know any real people. I think it was a master stroke of Fate that in researching the greatest celebrity of them all, I would at last be meeting real people, finding them more extraordinary than celebrities; fascinated by them all and enjoying enduring friendships with some.

„Then after his death in London in taxis, on radio and TV I heard nothing but Elvis records and that grabbed my attention.“

—  Elaine Dundy

As quoted in "Interview: Elaine Dundy, celebrated author of the seminal book, Elvis & Gladys: Genesis of The King, talks to EIN" (2004) http://www.elvisinfonet.com/dundy1.html
Kontext: I didn't know Elvis was alive until he was dead. But how many stories are like mine? Until his death August 16, 1977, it was possible to get through a day without hearing his name. Of course I remember all the early outrage he caused but believe me it was easy not to see any of his films. It doesn't mean that music has not always dominated my heart and mind. During the years barren of Elvis I did have my record player on constantly but it was playing folk, blues, and jazz. It was playing Al Jolson, Maurice Chevalier, Billie Holiday, Ethel Merman, and Noel Coward. The human voice raised in song has always been important to me so I include Miles Davis whose trumpet is such an important human voice. Then after his death in London in taxis, on radio and TV I heard nothing but Elvis records and that grabbed my attention.

„You’ve got the one thing a writer needs: You’ve got your own voice. Now go.“

—  Elaine Dundy

Afterword to The Dud Avocado (2006)
Kontext: The Big Personalities weighed in. Soon after its publication Irwin Shaw wrote to me praising it. Terry Southern, calling me "Miss Smarts," said I was "a perfect darling." Gore Vidal phoned one morning saying, "You’ve got the one thing a writer needs: You’ve got your own voice. Now go." Ernest Hemingway said to me, "I liked your book. I liked the way your characters all speak differently." And then added, "My characters all sound the same because I never listen." All this, and heaven too. Laurence Olivier told me that now that my book was making a lot of money we could elope and I could support us. The Financial Times ran an item which read, "Such and such stock: No dud avocado." Groucho Marx wrote me, "I had to tell someone how much I enjoyed The Dud Avocado.… If this was actually your life, I don’t know how the hell you got through it." When people ask me how autobiographical the book is I say, all the impulsive, outrageous things my heroine does, I did. All the sensible things she did, I made up.

„He said, this was the first time in his experience that an unknown writer had complained about a book cover.“

—  Elaine Dundy

Afterword to The Dud Avocado (2006)
Kontext: Halfway through writing the book, I still had no title. It came wonderfully into being when I complimented my host at a party on his flourishing avocado plant. I said, I’d kept trying and failing with my own avocado pits. Someone said, what you’ve got is a dud avocado, and Ken said, that’s a good title for a novel. I thought, this title is mine, and it was. Ken and I had the same agent, and for a publisher we decided on Victor Gollancz, who was so good with first novels. Wonderfully, he accepted it, but with several caveats. He didn’t like the title. It sounded like a cookbook. He also wanted me to write under my married name. I said no to both. He accepted. He decided it needed a subtitle, "La Vie Amoureuse of Sally Jay in Paris." I said, Oh no, no! He said, this was the first time in his experience that an unknown writer had complained about a book cover. However, he did put on the book’s jacket that the subtitle was the publisher’s. Ken read it in proof and said, "You’ve got a thumping great best-seller here." Curiously, the first thing I felt was relief. I believed him. No one could predict how a play or novel would be received by the public like Ken could. And only then was I set free to let excitement take hold of me.

„And eventually we will make sense of it.“

—  Elaine Dundy

<!-- [http://www.elainedundy.com/stranger.html DEAD LINK --> "A Stranger Comes to Town" (c. 2001)
Kontext: I'd always prided myself on how unlike my books were from each other in settings and subject matter. But not until late in my career did I realize that a single thread ran through them, that I'd used the same strategy to catch the reader's attention. It is the old Western movie gimmick: A Stranger Comes to Town. I am that Stranger. Together with the reader I will discover what's going on in that town whether it be Paris, London, New York, Sydney, Tupelo, Ferriday — or in a women's federal prison. And eventually we will make sense of it.

„All at once I knew that I liked this place, too.“

—  Elaine Dundy

Part One, One
The Dud Avocado (1958)
Kontext: I suppose Larry’s "reality” in this case was based on the café’s internationality. But perhaps all cafés near a leading university have that authentic international atmosphere. At the table closest to us sat an ordinary-looking young girl with lank yellow hair and a gray-haired bespectacled middle-aged man. They had been conversing fiercely but quietly for some time now in a language I was not even able to identify.
All at once I knew that I liked this place, too.
Jammed in on all sides, with the goodish Tower of Babel working itself up to a frenzy around me, I felt safe and anonymous and, most of all, thankful we were going to be spared those devastating and shattering revelations one was always being treated to at the more English-speaking cafés like the Flore.
And, as I said, I was very glad to have run into Larry.

„I’ve been rereading your book. There’s love on every page.“

—  Elaine Dundy

Afterword to The Dud Avocado (2006)
Kontext: The reviews were excellent and the book quickly went into a second printing. Then one night Ken came home and threw a copy of the book out the window. "You weren’t a writer when I married you, you were an actress," he said angrily. Obviously his colleagues had been riding him because of the attention I was receiving. I was shattered. The next day, he said, "I’ve been rereading your book. There’s love on every page." And then he gave me a beautiful red leather-bound copy of it with the inscription: "From the Critic to the Author." Looking at it I felt a pang. I wondered if it was his admission of what I’d done that he had not.
To my wonder and, it appeared, his annoyance, the book wouldn’t go away.

„I’d made a vow when I got over here never to speak to anyone I’d ever known before.“

—  Elaine Dundy

Part One, One
The Dud Avocado (1958)
Kontext: I’d made a vow when I got over here never to speak to anyone I’d ever known before. Yet here we were, two Americans who hadn’t really seen each other for years; here was someone from "home” who knew me when, if you like, and, instead of shambling back into the bushes like a startled rhino, I was absolutely thrilled at the whole idea.
"I like it here, don’t you?” said Larry, indicating the café with a turn of his head.
I had to admit I’d never been there before.
He smiled quizzically. "You should come more often,” he said. "It’s practically the only nontourist trap to survive on the Left Bank. It’s real” he added.
Real, I thought … whatever that meant.

„What is always overlooked is that although the poor want to be rich, it does not follow that they either like the rich or that they in any way want to emulate their characters which, in fact, they despise.“

—  Elaine Dundy, buch Elvis and Gladys

Elvis and Gladys (1985), Ch. 5 : A Romance, p. 55
Kontext: What is always overlooked is that although the poor want to be rich, it does not follow that they either like the rich or that they in any way want to emulate their characters which, in fact, they despise. Both the poor and the rich have always found precisely the same grounds on which to complain about each other. Each feels the other has no manners, is disloyal, corrupt, insensitive — and has never put in an honest day's work in its life.

„Each feels the other has no manners, is disloyal, corrupt, insensitive — and has never put in an honest day's work in its life.“

—  Elaine Dundy, buch Elvis and Gladys

Elvis and Gladys (1985), Ch. 5 : A Romance, p. 55
Kontext: What is always overlooked is that although the poor want to be rich, it does not follow that they either like the rich or that they in any way want to emulate their characters which, in fact, they despise. Both the poor and the rich have always found precisely the same grounds on which to complain about each other. Each feels the other has no manners, is disloyal, corrupt, insensitive — and has never put in an honest day's work in its life.

„If you write another book, I’ll divorce you.“

—  Elaine Dundy

Afterword to The Dud Avocado (2006)
Kontext: My success took another road. I complained to Rod Steiger, "The book’s hardly been out and everyone wants to know what I’m going to write next. I mean, don’t I get to rest on my laurels?" In fact I had no idea of writing a second novel. "No," said Rod, answering my question. "Succeeding only means you get another chance to try to do it again."
I thought about it, and then Ken said to me, "If you write another book, I’ll divorce you." I sat down and started my second novel and wondered that I knew its beginning and its end. I put it aside to write a play which went on in London.… I went back to my novel and finished it. It was published to good reviews but now there were a couple of stinkers. I tore them up and flushed them down the toilet. I’d become a writer.
In 1964 Ken and I got divorced. Well, we did bad things to each other. Now, some three decades later, I look back in gratitude at him: I look back in wonder.

„The dull conformity of those years as they are generally imagined is something I don’t recognize.“

—  Elaine Dundy

Afterword to The Dud Avocado (2006)
Kontext: I look back in wonder at The Dud Avocado: in wonder at its initial reception and at the many times it’s been reissued — for years it was even republished alongside of every new book of mine that came out. I look back in wonder at the 1950s. The dull conformity of those years as they are generally imagined is something I don’t recognize. I look back in wonder at London in particular, where whole areas destroyed during the Second World War still lay in rubble. But London was in the midst of a renaissance for artists. In literature and playwriting the Angry Young Men were making their splash and new young actors like Richard Burton, Peter O Toole, Albert Finney, and Peter Finch were coming into their own. London was an orderly place where it was safe to take risks. Optimism was the rule of the day and I was there.

„When people ask me how autobiographical the book is I say, all the impulsive, outrageous things my heroine does, I did. All the sensible things she did, I made up.“

—  Elaine Dundy

Afterword to The Dud Avocado (2006)
Kontext: The Big Personalities weighed in. Soon after its publication Irwin Shaw wrote to me praising it. Terry Southern, calling me "Miss Smarts," said I was "a perfect darling." Gore Vidal phoned one morning saying, "You’ve got the one thing a writer needs: You’ve got your own voice. Now go." Ernest Hemingway said to me, "I liked your book. I liked the way your characters all speak differently." And then added, "My characters all sound the same because I never listen." All this, and heaven too. Laurence Olivier told me that now that my book was making a lot of money we could elope and I could support us. The Financial Times ran an item which read, "Such and such stock: No dud avocado." Groucho Marx wrote me, "I had to tell someone how much I enjoyed The Dud Avocado.… If this was actually your life, I don’t know how the hell you got through it." When people ask me how autobiographical the book is I say, all the impulsive, outrageous things my heroine does, I did. All the sensible things she did, I made up.

„Real, I thought … whatever that meant.“

—  Elaine Dundy

Part One, One
The Dud Avocado (1958)
Kontext: I’d made a vow when I got over here never to speak to anyone I’d ever known before. Yet here we were, two Americans who hadn’t really seen each other for years; here was someone from "home” who knew me when, if you like, and, instead of shambling back into the bushes like a startled rhino, I was absolutely thrilled at the whole idea.
"I like it here, don’t you?” said Larry, indicating the café with a turn of his head.
I had to admit I’d never been there before.
He smiled quizzically. "You should come more often,” he said. "It’s practically the only nontourist trap to survive on the Left Bank. It’s real” he added.
Real, I thought … whatever that meant.

„Elvis' quest led him through the study of all religions from Judaism to Buddhism and the teachings of theosophy with its belief in pantheistic evolution, reincarnation, the mystic the psychic, the spiritual, and the occult — in short, all the Aladdin lamps that lit up the 1960s.“

—  Elaine Dundy, buch Elvis and Gladys

Elvis and Gladys (1985), Epilogue, p. 330
Kontext: Elvis' quest led him through the study of all religions from Judaism to Buddhism and the teachings of theosophy with its belief in pantheistic evolution, reincarnation, the mystic the psychic, the spiritual, and the occult — in short, all the Aladdin lamps that lit up the 1960s. But before we roll about with laughter at the spectacle of this young many from the Bible Belt, raised on fundamentalism and comics, though apparently already well versed in polypharmacy — struggling to master the Wisdom of the East, we might pause a moment to note the names of George Bernard Shaw, Louis Lumière, Thomas Edison, Yeats, Havelock Ellis, Maeterlinck, the educator Rudolf Steiner, Krishnamurti, and Gandhi, all of whom had been influenced by or involved in theosophy at one time or another and would, not doubt, have welcomed Elvis with open arms as a fellow traveler in the belief that magic is inherent in us all.

„Curiously enough I remembered exactly.“

—  Elaine Dundy

Part One, One
The Dud Avocado (1958)
Kontext: It was a hot, peaceful, optimistic sort of day in September. It was around eleven in the morning, I remember, and I was drifting down the boulevard St. Michel, thoughts rising in my head like little puffs of smoke, when suddenly a voice bellowed into my ear: "Sally Jay Gorce! What the hell? Well, for Christ’s sake, can this really be our own little Sally Jay Gorce?” I felt a hand ruffling my hair and I swung around, furious at being so rudely awakened.
Who should be standing there in front of me, in what I immediately spotted as the Left Bank uniform of the day, dark wool shirt and a pair of old Army suntans, but my old friend Larry Keevil. He was staring down at me with some alarm.
I said hello to him and added that he had frightened me, to cover any bad-tempered expression that might have been lingering on my face, but he just kept on staring dumbly at me.
"What have you been up to since … since … when the hell was it that I last saw you?” he asked finally.
Curiously enough I remembered exactly.

„It was a hot, peaceful, optimistic sort of day in September.“

—  Elaine Dundy

Part One, One
The Dud Avocado (1958)
Kontext: It was a hot, peaceful, optimistic sort of day in September. It was around eleven in the morning, I remember, and I was drifting down the boulevard St. Michel, thoughts rising in my head like little puffs of smoke, when suddenly a voice bellowed into my ear: "Sally Jay Gorce! What the hell? Well, for Christ’s sake, can this really be our own little Sally Jay Gorce?” I felt a hand ruffling my hair and I swung around, furious at being so rudely awakened.
Who should be standing there in front of me, in what I immediately spotted as the Left Bank uniform of the day, dark wool shirt and a pair of old Army suntans, but my old friend Larry Keevil. He was staring down at me with some alarm.
I said hello to him and added that he had frightened me, to cover any bad-tempered expression that might have been lingering on my face, but he just kept on staring dumbly at me.
"What have you been up to since … since … when the hell was it that I last saw you?” he asked finally.
Curiously enough I remembered exactly.

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