erik lundegaard

Saturday October 24, 2015

Gore's Wounds

“Vidal lacks the wound.”
-- Norman Mailer

Based on Leo Robson's book review/essay of Jay Parini's authorized biography, “Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal,” in the latest New Yorker, it's probably more accurate to say Vidal hides the wound. That's not Parini's diagnosis, by the way; that's Robson channeling Anaïs Nin, whom Vidal met in 1945, and who always felt Vidal hid his true emotions in favor of a public pose of world weariness. Indeed, Robson comes to the conclusion—delivered in the first graf—that Vidal's famous bon mots were mostly a form of projection. He was cataloging himself.

Maybe. Robson, at least, makes me feel better for never having gotten into Vidal's novels—whether self-referential (“The City and the Pillar”), historical (“Burr”) or satire (“Myran Breckenridge”). But I still want to go back to the essays. Pre-9/11, of course. 

Gore Vidal

The three saddest words in the English language? “Joyce Carol Oates,” Vidal said.

Posted at 01:13 PM on Saturday October 24, 2015 in category Books  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard

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