Gore Vidal

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Vidal, Gore

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).

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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.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Gore Vidal does not bother to tell us what attracted the rulers to the Christian belief, which means the notion of faith comes in here.
The feat of being the first child to fly across the Atlantic Ocean turned out to be but an opening act for Gore Vidal. For he would later write essays and other works that would bridge America's and Europe's contrasting sensibilities.
Buchanan Dying, like the historical novels of Gore Vidal and Thomas Mallon, among others, refutes James.
Gore Vidal's hero was instead his maternal grandfather, Oklahoma's blind Senator Thomas F.
Gore Vidal's The City and the Pillar (1948) appeared the same year as Leslie Fiedler's influential essay, "Come Back to the Raft Ag'in, Huck Honey," illustrating Fiedler's thesis that in American fiction the female is an impediment to deep friendship between males.
Two months later, Gore Vidal called me on my cell phone, catching me in the middle of a slight hangover, and invited me to his house the following day.
3, 2012): Gene Vidal, the father of writer Gore Vidal, was an assistant track coach at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris after competing at the 1920 games in Antwerp, Belgium.
Summary: My first encounter with Gore Vidal was in 1988, when he spoke to the annual convention of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee in a most un-Vidalian setting, an off-the-shelf hotel in Crystal City, Virginia.
- VIDAL IN 1973 IT was a fitting epitaph to Gore Vidal, as celebrity fans of the outspoken US writer used his own words to pay their respects yesterday.
WRITER and wit Gore Vidal was remembered in his own words yesterday after he died at 86.