Truman Capote and the Search for Meaning

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Truman Capote and the Meanings of Kansas” by Dave Tell.

in cold blood“Many people know that Truman Capote came to Kansas to write In Cold Blood,” says Dave Tell. “But few people realize how Kansans used his presence to define—and redefine—the meaning of Kansas.”

Truman Capote’s 1966 book In Cold Blood rattled the state of Kansas. Kansans were so enraptured by Capote’s version of the 1959 murder of the Clutter family that one historian even called the western half of the state “Capote country.” In his Speakers Bureau presentation, “Truman Capote and the Meaning of Kansas,” Tell explores editorial and newspaper columns to uncover the reasons people cared about Capote, and how they refused to let him have the last word on the meaning of Kansas.

Dave Tell

Dave Tell

Dave Tell is an associate professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas and the author of Confessional Crises and Cultural Politics in Twentieth-Century America. He earned his PhD in Communication Arts and Sciences from Pennsylvania State University.

You can attend Dave Tell’s “Truman Capote and the Meanings of Kansas” on October 22nd in Wichita. You can also bring this or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at) for more information.