Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Gore Vidal, Novelist

b. October 3, 1925
We must declare ourselves, become known; allow the world to discover this subterranean life of ours which connects kings and farm boys, artists and clerks. Let them see that the important thing is not the object of love, but the emotion itself.

Eugene Luther Gore Vidal's career as a novelist, essayist, screenwriter, critic and political activist spans six decades. Boldly challenging the status quo, Vidal has weathered censorship and criticism for his progressive writing and politics.
His childhood was marked by access and privilege. Vidal attended Phillips Exeter Academy, one of the country's most prestigious preparatory high schools. His family's political connections played a major role in shaping Vidal's life work. Vidal's maternal grandfather served as a Democratic senator from Oklahoma, while his father worked in the FDR administration as the Director of the Bureau of Air Commerce. Vidal has familial ties to the Kennedy family and is a distant cousin of Jimmy Carter and Al Gore.
After graduating from Exeter, Vidal joined the U.S. Army Reserve. He served in the Army Transportation Corps in Alaska, where he wrote much of his first novel, "Williwaw" (1946).
The release of Vidal's third novel, "The City and the Pillar," met scathing criticism for the book's homosexual themes. Major media publications, including The New York Times, refused to review his subsequent books. Vidal's sales declined.
Financially strained by the censorship of his work, Vidal began to dabble in alternate writing media that proved more lucrative. These pursuits culminated in Vidal's success as a distinguished playwright and screenwriter.
In 1957, Vidal's first political play, "Visit to a Small Planet," premiered in New York. A satire on post-World War II fear of communism, the play received Broadway acclaim and became a film in 1960.
Vidal also excelled as an essayist and historian who often stirred controversy with his progressive political views. His social and political commentary spans four decades and includes over 20 pieces. In 1993, Vidal received the National Book Award for his collection of essays entitled "United States: Essays 1952-1992."
Since the inception of his writing career, Vidal has published over 30 novels of various genres. His successful series of historical novels includes "Washington D.C." (1967), "Lincoln" (1984) and "The Golden Age" (2000). Vidal explores feminism and transsexuality in his satirical novel "Myra Breckinridge" (1968).


Selected Works


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