Thursday, October 3, 2013

October 3 - Gore Vidal

Novelist, playwright, essayist and public intellectual Gore Vidal was born on October 3, 1925, at West Point, NY, where his father was an aeronautics instructor. As a youth he read aloud to his grandfather, Sen. Thomas Gore (D-Oklahoma), who was blind. His early novel The City and the Pillar (1948) dealt explicitly with homosexuality, a term he considered false or misleading since he believed all people are potentially pansexual. Of his 24 novels, one of the best known – and most notorious – is Myra Breckinridge (1968), set in Hollywood and written as a diary, which satirizes 1960s subversion of norms of gender and sexuality. It was a major best-seller despite its quasi-pornographic treatment of themes that included transsexuality and feminism. He wrote the successful play “The Best Man” (1960) and a range of historical and sociopolitical novels, including Julian (1964), about the apostate Roman emperor; Washington, D.C. (1967); Burr (1973); 1876 (1976); and Lincoln (1984). He was also a script-doctor at MGM for the movie “Ben Hur” (1959).

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