The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal
The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal
Doubleday, Hardcover, 9780385524841, 480pp.
Publication Date: June 17, 2008
Gore Vidal—novelist, playwright, critic, screenwriter, memoirist, indefatigable political commentator, and controversialist—is America's premier man of letters. No other living writer brings more sparkling wit, vast learning, indelible personality, and provocative mirth to the job of writing an essay. This long-needed volume comprises some twenty-four of his forays into criticism, reviewing, political commentary, memoir, portraiture, and, occasionally, unfettered score settling. Among them are such classics as "The Top Ten Best-Sellers," “Dawn Powell: The American Writer,” “Theodore Roosevelt: An American Sissy," "Pornography," and "The Second American Revolution.” Edited and introduced by Gore Vidal's literary executor, Jay Parini, it will stand as one of the most enjoyable and durable works from the hand and mind of this vastly accomplished and entertaining immortal of American literature.
"In 114 essays written over a period of forty years, Gore Vidal has shown himself to be a masterly, learned, and percipient observer of an unparalleled range of subjects. United States: Essays, 1952–1992 assesses such diverse matters as modern French fiction, the Kennedys, underappreciated writers like Thomas Love Peacock, and the American attitude toward sex. He writes tenderly of authors and people he cherishes—Eleanor Roosevelt, Tennessee Williams, William Dean Howells. Whatever his subject, he addresses it with an artist's resonant appreciation, a scholar's conscience, and the persuasive powers of a great essayist."—Citation for the 1993 National Book Award
“Vidal is the best all-around American man of letters since Edmund Wilson.” —Newsweek
“Gore Vidal, essayist; so good that we cannot do without him. He is a treasure of the state.”—R.W.B. Lewis, New York Times Book Review
“Gore Vidal is the master essayist of our age, and we should thank the gods that we still have him to kick us around. Long may he flourish.”—Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World
“The century’s finest essayist.”—Jonathan Keates, The Spectator
“Indispensable . . . An excellent read . . . Provocateur, scholar, historian, novelist, scoundrel, whatever you want to call Gore Vidal, make sure you include ‘national treasure’ . . . [He] is an original mind, who thinks and sees without regard to convention. That alone makes him required reading.” —Sunday Oregonian
“Vidal has always had title to being among the most fluently entertaining of American essayists. I think it can now be seen that he is among the most substantial . . . There is often room to disagree with Vidal. But there is no room at all for denying that he is a superlative essayist, whose elegant concision is a gage thrown down to everyone else in the field.”—Clive James, The Observer
“Some of the most courageous, liveliest, and wittiest commentary on literature, the theater and social life that has been written in America.”—Philip Rahv
“The American tradition of independent and curious learning is kept alive in the wit and great expressiveness of Gore Vidal’s criticism.”—National Book Critics Circle for The Second American Revolution
“Gore Vidal is that rare thing, a wit who thinks in paragraphs.” —Kenneth Tynan