Gore Vidal, infamous author, playwright, political critic, dies
A true polymath -- novelist, screenwriter, playwright, essayist, political activist, and ultimately, cultural icon Gore Vidal passed away Tuesday evening due to complications from pneumonia in his Hollywood Hills home. He was 86.
Prolific in output, Vidal authored two memoirs, eight plays, over twenty-five novels, countless non-fiction pieces, and screenplays, including Suddenly, Last Summer and parts of Ben-Hur.
Considered one of the first great post-war novelists, Vidal's fictive themes typically focused on politics and sexuality. His third novel, The City and the Pillar, is considered one of the first books of its period to portray overt homosexuality, and was subsequently the center of public furor; his satire Myra Breckinridge was groundbreaking in its study of transexuality and patriarchy. Vidal also fictionalized the lives of famous political figures, such as vice president Aaron Burr in Burr, and Abraham Lincoln through the eyes of his contemporaries in Lincoln. He won the National Book Award for his book United States: Essays 1952-1992, a work of collected non-fiction.
A truly divisive, fiery provocateur, Vidal was either loved or loathed. He engaged in decades-long feuds with writers like Norman Mailer and William F. Buckley, Jr. Christopher Hitchens once reluctantly acknowledged him as "the 20th century's only possible answer to Oscar Wilde" and at the same time denounced him as a "crank-revisionist" and "denialist" in his old age.
|William F. Buckley Jr. vs. Gore Vidal|