At 86, he was claimed today by pneumonia.Here’s a fine assessment of his critical and political writing from Open Letters Monthly.
The City and the Pillar was the first gay novel that I read, unaware that it had practically killed his career in the 1950s, forcing him to work under pseudonyms. The New York Times refused to review his next five books.
What I remember best of Gore Vidal was a chat show in the thick of the Watergate scandal (he once said, ‘I never miss a chance to have sex or go on television’). Nixon was stonewalling in the White House and it looked as if he might survive. Gore, a descendant of Senators and distant member of the Kennedy clan, was asked by the TV host about the president’s prospects.
‘This time next year,’ he drawled with the air of one who has seen it all before, ‘when Richard Nixon is sitting on his hacienda in Argentina…’
The illusion of presidential power vanished in that instant.
Here’s his view of JFK.