Gore Vidal

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Vidal, Gore

(Eugene Luther Gore Vidal, Jr.), 1925–2012, American writer, b. West Point, N.Y. He grew up in Washington, D.C., where a formative influence was his witty and scholarly grandfather, Senator Thomas Gore of Oklahoma. Vidal was an acerbic observer of the contemporary American scene and an acute commentator on the nation's history. His first novel, Williwaw (1946), was based on his experiences in World War II. The City and the Pillar (1948, rev. ed. 1965) was one of the first mainstream novels to deal frankly with homosexuality. His best-known novel, the best-selling Myra Breckenridge (1968), is a witty satire about the Hollywood adventures of a glamorous transsexual.

Vidal's historical fiction includes an interlocking septet of American novels—consisting of Washington, D.C. (1967), Burr (1973), 1876 (1976), Lincoln (1984), Empire (1987), Hollywood (1990), and The Golden Age (2000)—as well as Julian (1964), Creation (1982), Live from Golgotha (1992), and The Smithsonian Institution (1998). In all, he wrote some 25 novels. Among his plays are Visit to a Small Planet (1955) and The Best Man (1960, film 1974), a drama concerning a presidential election that mirrored his political interests—he ran unsuccessfully for the House (1960) and the Senate (1982). He also wrote screenplays and television dramas. Vidal's sharply argued, stylish, and often controversial essays, which some critics consider his finest works, are collected in several volumes, including Reflections on a Sinking Ship (1969), The Second American Revolution (1982), Armageddon (1987), Screening History (1992), United States: Essays 1952–1992 (1993), and The Last Empire: Essays 1992–2000 (2001). He also wrote murder mysteries under the name Edgar Box.


See R. J. Stanton and G. Vidal, ed., Views from a Window: Conversations with Gore Vidal (1980) and R. Peabody and L. Ebersole, ed., Conversations with Gore Vidal (2005); his memoirs, Palimpsest (1995) and Point to Point Navigation (2006); biographies by F. Kaplan (1999) and J. Parini (2015); studies by B. F. Dick (1974), R. F. Kiernan (1982), J. Parini, ed. (1992), S. Baker and C. S. Gibson (1997), and S. Harris (2005); N. Wrathall, dir., Gore Vidal: United States of Amnesia (documentary, 2014).

Vidal, (Eugene Luther) Gore (Edgar Box, pen name)

(1925–  ) writer; born in West Point, N.Y. He studied at Exeter Academy, and served in the Army during World War II. His novel, The City and the Pillar (1948), was one of the first serious works by an American to deal explicitly with homosexuals. He wrote a number of successful novels, plays, short stories, books of literary criticism, essays, and, using the pen name of Edgar Box, mystery novels. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives (1960), and the U.S. Senate (1982); he drew on the former experience for his play, The Best Man (1960). Said to have originated the idea of the Peace Corps, he was an often vitriolic commentator on the American political and social scene. Such fictional works as Myra Breckenridge (1968) display his capacity for irreverent wit, while in a semifictional work such as Lincoln (1984), and in his prolific output of reviews and essays, he displayed the vast range of his knowledge alongside his generally disaffected attitudes toward American society.
References in periodicals archive ?
Y adivinando objeciones a su simplisimo proyecto, Gore Vidal admite que el libre uso de las drogas llevara, claro, a muchos adictos a la autodestruccion.
The only time I raised my voice at one of those dinner parties was when Gore Vidal opined that there was no such thing as homosexual literature, which I think is nonsense.
The bisexual Carson McCullers did not create explicitly lesbian and gay characters, but her Southern gothic novels--including the oft-dramatized The Member of the Wedding--have won many gay fans, including Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and, yes, Gore Vidal.
Rothfeld are now challenging those odds with their 17-member cast for "The Best Man," a revival of the 1960 play by Gore Vidal.
Gay and lesbian stars, writers, and directors get their moment June 13, with films like Dance Girl Dance (directed by Dorothy Arzner), Giant (starring Rock Hudson), and Suddenly, Last Summer (a grand slam--starring Montgomery Clift, written by Gore Vidal, from the play by Tennessee Williams).
POSITANO, Italy Novelist Gore Vidal dropped down from his cliffside villa on the Amalfi coast recently to close the so-called Intl.
THE BEST MAN: From Gore Vidal, our eminent homosexual gentleman of letters, this sharp satire on American politics still packs a punch 40 years after its original Broadway triumph.
By the time Gore Vidal was 32, he'd published a groundbreaking novel (The City and the Pillar) and penned a successful Broadway play (Visit to a Small Planet).