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Critical Essays on William Peter Blatty ..
Blatty's autobiography is titled I'll Tell Them I Remember You. A short critical essay on Blatty's work can be found in 's book The Modern Weird Tale (2001). Essays studying all Blatty's novels can be found in Benjamin Szumskyj's American Exorcist: Critical Essays on William Peter Blatty (, 2008).
In 1960 Blatty published Which Way to Mecca, Jack?, which dealt humorously with both early life and his work at the United States Information Agency in . He then published the comic novels (1963), I, Billy Shakespeare (1965) and Twinkle, Twinkle, "Killer" Kane (1966). Though he achieved great critical success with these books -- Marvin Levin in the New York Times, for example, led off a review with "Nobody can write funnier lines than William Peter Blatty, a gifted virtuoso who writes like (S.J.) Perelman," sales and commercial acceptance was lacking.
American Exorcist: Critical Essays on William Peter Blatty topic.
Blatty was born in , the son of parents who came to America on a cattle boat, Mary ( Mouakad) and Peter Blatty, a cloth cutter in a garment factory. His father left home when William was three years old. Raised in what he described as "comfortable destitution" by his deeply religious mother whose sole support came from peddling homemade quince jelly in the streets of New York (his mother once famously offered a jar of it to FDR when the President was cutting the ribbon for the Queens Midtown Tunnel, telling him, "For when you have company"), he lived at twenty-eight different addresses during his childhood due to constant evictions by landlords for non-payment of rent. He attended Brooklyn Preparatory, a Jesuit school, on scholarship at a time when Joe Paterno was the football team's quarterback, graduated as class Valedictorian in 1946, and then attended on a scholarship and then for his Master's degree in English Literature, for which he wrote a completely original master's thesis on the topic, "T.S. Eliot's Shakespearean Criticisms" (it concluded that Eliot was "secretly jealous" of Shakespeare because the latter, unlike Eliot, was an "unconscious artist" who "wrote inspirationally as easily as he breathed.") Between 1950 and 1952 he variously worked as a door-to-door salesman for the Electrolux Vacuum cleaner company, as a Gunther Beer truck relief driver where he achieved a certain fame for burning out three truck clutches in six weeks, and as a ticket agent for United Airlines, all before escaping into the United States Air Force where he ultimately became head of the Policy Branch of the USAF Psychological Warfare Division, about which he would write in his humorous autobiography, Which Way to Mecca, Jack?, that his "principal achievement" was in formulating the principle that "a 500-pound sack of propaganda leaflets would, if dropped from an altitude of 13,000 feet and provided it scored a direct hit, would drive one North Korean soldier approximately four feet into the ground." Mustering out of the Air Force, he joined the US Information Agency and worked as an editor stationed in Beirut, Lebanon. He had determined to return to Beirut after his three-month "home leave," but when a co-editor asked him in the kitchen of his Beirut apartment during the course of a farewell party, "Bill, what happened to the dream?" he changed his mind. The "dream" was a career in the world of acting, publishing and entertainment.
In 1978, Blatty re-hashed his novel Twinkle, Twinkle, "Killer" Kane! into the retitled ; and in 1980 he wrote, directed, and produced a film version. A meditation on God's existence described by one critic as "The Meets " and greeted as a "masterpiece" by The Cincinnati Post and "the finest large-scale American surrealist film ever made" by Peter Travers in People Magazine, the film, nevertheless, was a commercial flop. It has since acquired a rather sizable . In 1981 it was nominated for three Golden Globes, among them Best Picture, and won the Best Writing Award against competition that included "The Elephant Man," "Ordinary People," and "Raging Bull."
American Exorcist, Critical Essays on William Peter ..
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