Patricia Highsmith: the ‘Jew-hater’ who took Jewish women as lovers – The Guardian

Sun 17 Jan 2021 10.00 GMT

Patricia Highsmith
A biography of the author by Richard Bradford checks out the paradox at the heart of her life

She embraced disgusting antisemitic views, informing people she was a “Jew hater” and calling the deaths of 6 million Jews “the semicaust” due to the fact that she was dissatisfied more had not been killed in the camps.Yet Patricia Highsmith, born 100 years back on 19 January, conducted 3 of her most significant affairs with Jewish females.”There is no evidence that Highsmith privately hated these two females,” says Richard Bradford, professor of English at Ulster University, whose book is published on Thursday. “She called him a kike in her journals and wrote that he had Jewed her out of a good wage,” says Bradford, who has actually been to the Highsmith archive in Switzerland, where she lived for her last few years.
She would trigger outrage at dinner celebrations, telling guests at one “Im ill of the Jews”, and later angering good friends at her home in Switzerland, when after going into her kitchen for a couple of minutes she came back with a concentration camp number written in biro on her wrist. “Nearly all the guests instantly left,” says Bradford, whose previous bio topics include George Orwell and Philip Larkin.Using pseudonyms, Highsmith would also compose regular letters expressing anti-Israeli beliefs to American and european documents when residing in France and then Switzerland. This, Bradford points out, makes some sense, as she openly supported the Palestinian cause.Her affair with Hill, nee Blumenthal, started in 1950. Highsmith, drinking at a bar in Munich, made a beeline for her at a close-by table. “It ended up being Highsmiths most long-lasting love early on, however it was also extremely stormy,” states Bradford. Highsmith, admittedly early in their relationship, describes Hill in her diary as: “The benevolence. The stunning world. Darling, pertained to me in a silver gown.”Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Carol (2015 ). Photo: Everett/Rex ShutterstockAnd yet, 3 years later, when living together in the US, Hill attempted to kill herself with barbiturates. The sexually starved author was never monogamous. “Highsmith, regardless of knowing Hill was distraught, merely left to go to sleep with another lady. It was just two days later that a good friend told her about Hills suicide attempt,” says Bradford. They broke up in 1954 and yet continued a non-sexual relationship, with Hill visiting Highsmith in Europe.
Something similar took place after Highsmiths year-long relationship with another Jewish woman, the American Daisy Winton, who had actually anglicised her last name. After they separated, Winton, who had actually been a singer in a bar and was versus type for Highsmith as she was not academic or highly informed, occasionally concerned see her in France, assisting with household tasks. Highsmith even sent her impecunious previous lover a cheque for $5,000 not long before the author died in 1995. Her three-year affair with the artist Aboudaram started after she stalked Highsmith to her home in 1976. Highsmith committed her unique Ediths Diary to her. “They shared a dark sense of humour,” states Bradford. “Highsmith also wrote in her diaries about how she was interested by Marions face and legs.”Bradford says its confusing tallying Highsmiths antisemitism with her love for three Jewish ladies. Highsmith conversed with herself in one entry in her diary on Ellen being Jewish a month after her suicide attempt. She explains it “as hell being related to the tight, sophisticated and breakable Jewish set”. She would also frequently question Aboudaram about how she and her mom, as Jews, escaped detention during the second world war in Paris. Years later on, after their split, Aboudaram commented that the only country “to which Pat welcomed me was Germany!”. They did not go.
Devils, Lusts and Strange Desires: The Life of Patricia Highsmith likewise tells of her bias about black individuals. The book, published by Bloomsbury, of course analyzes Highsmiths incredibly effective career, and tells too of friendships with male writers such as Gore Vidal and Arthur Koestler, with whom she once even slept. In the 1960s, when Highsmith lived in England, she had an affair with a well-connected married Englishwoman, whom Bradford calls Caroline in the book and who later on ended up being a successful writer.

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“There is no proof that Highsmith secretly hated these two women,” states Richard Bradford, teacher of English at Ulster University, whose book is released on Thursday. “She called him a kike in her diaries and composed that he had actually Jewed her out of a decent wage,” says Bradford, who has actually been to the Highsmith archive in Switzerland, where she lived for her last few years. “Nearly all the visitors instantly left,” states Bradford, whose previous biography subjects include George Orwell and Philip Larkin.Using pseudonyms, Highsmith would also compose routine letters revealing anti-Israeli beliefs to American and european documents when living in France and then Switzerland. “It ended up being Highsmiths most enduring love early on, but it was likewise really rainy,” states Bradford.”Bradford says its confusing tallying Highsmiths antisemitism with her love for 3 Jewish women.

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