Tag Archives: gore vidal

No Anxiety of Influence in the Penny Press!

Throughout the year, the New York Review of Books is celebrating its 50th anniversary by reprinting excerpts from pieces by some of its most lauded contributors. The excerpts appear on the last page of every issue, and considering the lineup of literary powerhouses the NYRB has always boasted, you’d think the presence of such a […]

Penguins on Parade: Not Yet!

We can pause roughly mid-way in our Penguin Alphabet to daydream about all those great books out there that for one reason or another (critical unpreparedness, zealously guarded copyright, etc.) have never quite made it into the Classics canon – but very much deserve to. The full list of such Not Yet Penguins would be […]

Gore Vidal

For most of your long life, you looked to this uneasy translation with a mixture of dread and prurience, and now it’s upon you (“townsman of a stiller town,” from a poem you professed to hate and yet memorized, as was your way in all things), and the rest of us – your literary heirs, […]

Penguins on Parade: Ammianus Marcellinus!

Some Penguin Classics will inevitably provoke a hearty “Who the Hell is that?” even in well-educated company, and a permanent occupant of that category is the fourth century Greek army officer and historian Ammianus Marcellinus, who dreamed of standing on the same level as his beloved Tacitus but never rises to more than a weak […]

Homage to Daniel Shays!

Our book today is Gore Vidal’s 1973 essay collection Homage to Daniel Shays, containing high-point pieces from 1952 to 1972, spanning subjects from literature to cinema to theater to politics, presented in chronological order. The old Vintage paperback I’ve had for years is 450 pages long, which is a whole hell of a lot more […]

The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away in the Penny Press!

I confess, I was curious to know what kind of response Vanity Fair readers would make to that bad-tempered little snipery by Christopher Hitchens that I mentioned here, the piece in which he takes shots at Gore Vidal for ever daring to disagree with him. I was worried that Vidal himself would respond and perhaps […]

Penny Press Addendum: The Lying in Winter

I knew something like this was coming, and I thought I was prepared to control my outrage. A friend alerted me to a one-page squib in the latest Vanity Fair (I intended to wholesale ignore the issue, since it was boring enough to feature a philandering famous athlete the cover) in which Christopher Hitchens – […]

United States!

Our book today is  Gore Vidal’s mammoth collection of essays, United States, which was published in 1993, won him the National Book Award, and will almost certainly stand as the greatest work of his long and varied career (I write ‘almost’ here out of superstitious reflex – Janus-faced rumors have abounded for years, after all: […]


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