1. says

    Gore Vidal’s books and short stories in the 1950s were great escapes for young gays like myself. My favorite short story by him was called “PAGES OF AN ABANDON JOURNAL”. I have been thinking of using that concept if and when I write my “Pages of an abandon Photo Album”. I am 75, and often look back at a time gays were queer and
    shun by so many. Thank goodness for Gore and Tennessee Williams for giving us their wit and insight into a world that included us.

  2. NVTodd says

    RIP, I’ll sorely miss him.

    Before the less well read wanna be activists weigh in on the quote attributed to him, the context is that “homosexual” is an adjective; he used “homosexualist” as a noun.

    Thought I’d spare us all some ranting.

  3. Jack M says

    He was a fresh breath of intellectual air, and it was always fascinating to hear what he had to say. The world is a less enlightened place without him.

  4. ratbastard says

    A talented writer with a good intellect.

    He was also a pompous, over bearing spoiled WASP, who because of his very privileged upbringing, had difficulty relating to the ‘average’ person and bonding with their culture.

  5. AG says

    Thanks for this post, Andy, all three items the NYT, LAT, and video references.

    I truly feel that anything gay-related and important will be covered by Towleroad.

    Your blog is one of my few daily musts.

  6. miKem says

    No matter what you may have thought of Mr Vidal, he was one of the prime movers of the freedoms we all experience today in the Gay & Lesbian world. The City and the Pillar, alone brought our issues forward in society with dignity and beauty. And he brought it forward in one of the worse times or our people, the Great American Fear of the 1950’s. God Bless Gore Vidal, he remains one of my personal heroes.

  7. Caliban says

    Yes, Gore Vidal was a frustrating SOB, waspy (and WASP-y), catty, with an acid wit, and a huge snob. But he was also brilliant.

    No matter how he thought about it, what mental gymnastics he went through about his own sexuality, it took some real guts to write “The City & The Pillar” when he did.

    When I realized I was gay I went on a reading binge of gay authors, trying to understand what it meant, the history of it. Gore Vidal was a big part of that, in addition to Tennessee Williams, Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, Jean Genet, William S Burroughs, Armistead Maupin, and many others. They were the people who took “the love that dare not speak its name” and spoke about it, “polite company” be damned. They refused to sit down and be quiet and mind their manners and brought homosexuality into the open.

    Despite how pissy he could be, Gore Vidal was a lion. Rainbow flags should be at half mast today.

  8. Jon says

    I would agree with RatBasard that Gore was pompous and over bearing, and he was also a WASP.

    But, if you read his work, particularly his historical novels, they were written for mass consumption and very successful. Many average people read and enjoyed ‘Lincoln,’ ‘Burr,’ and ‘Empire.’

    He was an elitist who always supported the underdog. Just watch the famous Buckley/Vidal confrontation at the 1968 Democratic Convention.

    Buckley was supporting the establishment elites.

    Gore supported the kids that didn’t want to be drafted and die in Vietnam, aka the ‘average’ persons.

    Gore was the preeminent ’eminent outlaw.’

  9. Caliban says

    If you’ve never read them, Myra Breckinridge and its sequel, Myron, really are hilarious, well worth reading.

    Myra Breckinridge was brought up on obscenity charges. I don’t know if modern versions still do this, but Vidal’s revenge was to substitute the names of Supreme Court justices for “dirty” words in Myron. IIRC, a penis was a “whizzer white,” the nickname of SCOTUS Justice Byron White.

  10. chesterton says

    !972 or 3, The Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow, between the stacks I am reading “Robin”. Oh, be still my heart!
    God rest the restless soul.

  11. anon says

    He had two sides: an experimental literary approach to storytelling and a cranky paranoia that probably stems from the insecurity he felt about his elite status being undermined by his sexual minority status. The one side required a lot of talent, but cranky paranoia requires no real skill at all.

  12. Gregv says

    @NVTodd: The term “homosexual people” uses the word “homsexual” as an adjective, not a noun.
    There are, indeed, honosexual people (people whose natural sexual and romantic orientation is overwhelmingly toward members of the same sex). Whenever I hear a quote like that, I suspect the person speaking is bisexual and has trouble putting himself into the shoes of someone who cannot as easily choose “acts” of sex and romance with one sex as the other.

  13. Bob R says

    When I read of Gore Vidal’s death this morning I shed a tear and my heart sank a little. I did so admire Gore Vidal. I love his prose and was captivated by his public interviews and discussions. I remember well how he drove Bill Buckley to livid distraction. He was Buckley’s intellectual superior and it drove Buckley mad.

    Pompous? Perhaps. If he was too aristocratic for some, he was old school aristocrat who practiced noblesse oblige. He always defended the average man and I’m so very proud he was an openly gay man.

    The world lost a great intellect, essayist and human being today. I shall miss Gore Vidal, but I’m glad I shall have so many volumes of his works to help keep his intellect and spirit alive, at least in my heart.

  14. gr8guyca says

    Vidal has said that his first love was Jimmie Trimble, who was, in fact, movie star handsome and very hot.


    Yet, I am not clear if he was a crush that Vidal had or if they actually had a sexual relationship. In “The City and the Pillar” he describes a friendship that becomes sexual, which could have been the actual story between himself and Trimble. Or the book could be the description of what he hoped might have happened.

    Does anyone know?

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