The most puzzling thing about the career of Gore Vidal, who went toes-up last week at 86, was the reverence in which he was held by people who might have known better. He was famous for announcing the “death of the novel” as an art form, and as if to prove the point he kept writing them. No one who survived a reading of Kalki or Myron or Creation or Duluth will recall the experience with anything other than revulsion and self-loathing. It is true that, when sober, he could be good on television, and few talents now-adays are more highly prized. And it’s true that, as an essayist, he could sometimes impress the reader with a kind of goofball charm; I’ve just reread with pleasure half a dozen essays that I first enjoyed 30 years ago in the New York Review of Books. He single-handedly revived the reputation of the great novelist Dawn Powell, and he told funny stories in a winsome way about Hollywood old and new, and he was hell on the Kennedys. However you measure these achievements from a career spanning seven decades, they amount to no more than a handful, soon to turn to dust.Read the whole thing and enjoy.
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Andrew Ferguson takes exception to the praise poured upon the late Gore Vidal. The first paragraph:
Posted by Tom at 1:15 PM