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                                                            More on Who's Who

From the same July 30, 1962 letter to Gerald Murphy quoted yesterday:

When I published APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA, people who knew me, and many who didn't, rushed to identify the Julian English character. They said it was of course autobiographical, and it did no good to point out that I had not inhaled carbon monoxide...

Long, long before I start writing a novel I have learned all I can about the principal characters. I have determined, to my own satisfaction, what they would do in any and all circumstances. And I am pretty generally right. Why? Because they are real people, people who are living and who have lived. I use the psychological pattern of the real people, then I put them in different locations and times, and cover them up with superficial characteristics, etc.

Selected Letters, page 401.

Matthew Bruccoli gives two examples.

"The source for Alfred Eaton (From The Terrace) was Anthony Eden, and O'Hara built in the name echo as a clue. Although the author did not know Eden, the connection between the former Prime Minister and Eaton is not surprising, given the O'Hara method of character creation: the amalgamation of the psychological pattern of one person with the external qualities of one or more other actual persons. Both Eden and Eaton lost great power and were unable to build new careers; and both married younger women after divorces in middle age." The O'Hara Concern, page 244.

"...the psychological source for Joe Chapin (Ten North Frederick) was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whom Chapin detested. Once this identification is made, the connections are obvious: both were only sons groomed for success by strong mothers; both were handsome men married to plain women; both were crippped in early middle age (although Joe Chapin recovered)...The O'Hara Concern, page 229.

Anthony Eden was a British statesman who succeeded Winston Churchill as Prime Minister. The disastrous 1956 Suez invasion ended his career..

Roosevelt was stricken with polio, Joe Chapin broke his leg in a tragic fall.

Anhony Eden and FDR: I never would have guessed.

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