Gore Vidal by Fred Kaplan
A Biography

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Synopsis

Fred Kaplan’s insightful biography of the inimitable and brilliant Gore Vidal
Few writers of recent memory have distinguished themselves in so many fields, and so consummately, as Gore Vidal. A prolific novelist, Vidal also wrote for film and theater, and became a classic essayist of his own time, delivering prescient analyses of American society, politics, and culture. Known for his rapier wit and intelligence, Vidal moved with ease among the cultural elite—his grandfather was a senator, he was intimate with the Kennedys, and one of his best friends was Tennessee Williams. For this definitive biography, Fred Kaplan was given access to Vidal’s papers and letters. The result is an insightful and entertaining portrait of an exceptional and mercurial writer.
 

About Fred Kaplan

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Fred Kaplan is Distinguished Professor of English Literature at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the critically acclaimed author of the biographies Henry James, Dickens, and Thomas Carlyle (which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize), and the editor of The Essential Gore Vidal. Kaplan has held Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, received a Queens College Presidential Award, and been a Fellow of the National Humanities Center. He is currently at work on a biography of Mark Twain. Kaplan lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 
Published April 23, 2013 by Open Road Media. 864 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Gore Vidal

Kirkus Reviews

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Kaplan’s talent for setting social milieus keeps up with the innumerable names that drop in and out of Vidal’s life (including Tennessee Williams, Anaãs Nin, Paul Bowles, and Paul Newman, to name just a few), though he refrains from assessing in depth Vidal’s place in the assorted creative scenes...

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Publishers Weekly

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Kaplan's dutiful selections show that Vidal's unique blend of erudition and wit is not well served by abbreviation, a limitation reinforced by Kaplan's laborious introductions, which help neither the reader nor Vidal (""Religion is another recurrent subject in Vidal's oeuvre"";

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Publishers Weekly

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(Compare, for instance, Gerald Clarke's scintillating biography of Truman Capote, also about a contemporary writer known for his wit and style, and also written with the cooperation of its subject.) Kaplan, falling far short of that standard, convinces the reader that Vidal's unusually vast invol...

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London Review of Books

Vidal is right to press the issue of Pearl Harbor, but its centrality in The Golden Age not only unbalances the series (causing it to end with two novels on pretty much the same period) but distorts the final volume’s picture of the age.

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London Review of Books

A stickler for language, he’s no snob when it comes to the launch-vehicles for his copy: along with the historical novels for which he is best known (Julian, Burr, Lincoln), Vidal has written television plays, Broadway comedies, mystery novels under the pseudonym Edgar Box, speculative fantasies ...

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National Review Online

Since publishing his first novel at age 21 in 1946, Vidal has been a historical novelist, experimental novelist, playwright, screenwriter, literary critic, autobiographer, political essayist, and “queer theorist” avant la lettre.

Aug 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Gore Vidal: A Biography

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