Many Truman Capote critics consider his short story “La Côte Basque” to be the beginning of his artistic decline, a consideration anchored in the presumption that the story is disgusting. Drawing upon theories of affect and narrative, I argue that disgust is transitive, and offer a reinterpretation of the story as one about how disgust works, in both narrative and discourse, to critique the elite with whom Capote was associated. Considering the transitivity of disgust also facilitates a reexamination of critical responses to the story as a redirection of disgust away from the elites Capote critiqued onto the author himself. This reassessment demonstrates how disgust works as a key component of the riseand-fall narrative of Capote’s career that critics continue to perpetuate. Examining how disgust works in “La Côte Basque” and its reception therefore encourages a reassessment of the story, its author, and the construction of his critical legacy.


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pp. 67-84
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