Gore Vidal

1925 - 2012

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Eugene Luther Gore Vidal (; born Eugene Louis Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012) was an American writer and public intellectual known for his epigrammatic wit. His novels and essays interrogated the social and sexual norms he perceived as driving American life. Beyond literature, Vidal was heavily involved in politics. He unsuccessfully sought office twice as a Democratic Party candidate, first in 1960 to the U.S. House of Representatives (for New York), and later in 1982 to the U.S. Senate (for California). A grandson of U.S. Senator Thomas Gore, Vidal was born into an upper-class political family. As a political commentator and essayist, Vidal's primary focus was the history and society of the United States, especially how a militaristic foreign policy reduced the country to a decadent empire. His political and cultural essays were published in The Nation, the New Statesman, the New York Review of Books, and Esquire magazines. As a public intellectual, Gore Vidal's topical debates on sex, politics, and religion with other intellectuals and writers occasionally turned into quarrels with the likes of William F. Buckley Jr. and Norman Mailer. As a novelist, Vidal explored the nature of corruption in public and private life. His style of narration evoked the time and place of his stories, and delineated the psychology of his characters. His third novel, The City and the Pillar (1948), offended the literary, political, and moral sensibilities of conservative book reviewers, the plot being about a dispassionately presented male homosexual relationship. In the historical novel genre, Vidal recreated the imperial world of Julian the Apostate (r. AD 361–363) in Julian (1964). Julian was the Roman emperor who attempted to re-establish Roman polytheism to counter Christianity. In social satire, Myra Breckinridge (1968) explores the mutability of gender roles and sexual orientation as being social constructs established by social mores.: 94–100  In Burr (1973) and Lincoln (1984), each protagonist is presented as "A Man of the People" and as "A Man" in a narrative exploration of how the public and private facets of personality affect the national politics of the United States.: 439 : 75–85  Source: Wikipedia (en)

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