Gore Vidal in 1948, the year he published The City and the Pillar. (Photo by Carl Vechten.)
Posted by MK on 8/1/12
Gore Vidal died yesterday in California at the age of 86. Those unfamiliar with this literary and cultural giant may want to read the fascinating, richly detailed obituary in the New York Times–in addition to reading works by Mr. Vidal himself, of course. The Times calls Mr. Vidal a “an elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization.” The obituary says that
Mr. Vidal . . . frequently declared that human beings were inherently bisexual, and that labels like gay (a term he particularly disliked) or straight were arbitrary and unhelpful. For 53 years, he had a live-in companion, Howard Austen, a former advertising executive, but the secret of their relationship, he often said, was that they had never slept together.
Mr. Austen passed away in 2003. His gravestone was inscribed at the time with both his name and Mr. Vidal’s.
I’ve read only one of Mr. Vidal’s 25 novels: The City and the Pillar, published in 1948. I’m happy to take suggestions about which other Vidal work(s) to read next. Even better, make a public recommendation by leaving a comment.
The Times’ piece says the following about The City and the Pillar: