Our lovely vulgar and most human art is at an end, if not the end. Bookseller: , Ohio, United States Doubleday, 2008. Anywho, I've just been dipping in at random, finding an essay to read now and again. But by the end of 1961, the moral and intellectual hollowness of Camelot was plain to him. In any case, rather like priests who have forgotten the meaning of the prayers they chant, we shall go on for quite a long time talking of books and writing books, pretending all the while not to notice that the church is empty and the parishioners have gone elsewhere to attend other gods, perhaps in silence or with new words.
A caustic wit emerges in most of these essays, regardless of topic. Most of the essays reprinted here are excellent. I'm not gonna read the whole book cover to cover and I've previously read most of the later contents anywho. Fearlessness and independence of mind are the strengths in this author's arms, but his heart's love is language and the richness of language. Suddenly, I had so many thoughts on the subject of sex and power that I was obliged to write an essay. So quite dated in the literary criticism essays. She died more or less obscure in 1965, and Vidal's influential revaluation doubtless brought a smile to her long-suffering shade.
The analogy works amusingly on all levels save one: the church fathers had a Christ to provide them with a primary source of revelation, while our own dogmatists must depend either upon private systems or else upon those proposed by such slender reeds as Matthew Arnold and T. It also expresses a far more discriminating admiration for William Gass than is usual among reviewers of that overadmired writer. His analysis of an early-1970s best-seller list is essential reading! Although I think his aesthetics are weirdly stuffy on this matter. . 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. He's so sharp on the page and his assessments hold nothing back in attacking mediocrity wherever it is to be found. Up there and downstairs, reading to his grandfather, he acquired an education.
I attempted to read every essay in this book. The attack on multilateralism and international law has, less ambiguously, rationalized national chauvinism and aggressive tribalism. He simply thinks it's 'boring' to list the furniture that populates a room. Leavis and Saint Jerome are perfectly matched, while John Chrysostom and John Crowe Ransom suggest a possibility. As Vidal points out with his customary sardonic relish, Jefferson himself began selling out Jeffersonianism during his second term. In possibly premature retrospect, it appears that one historical function of neoconservatism was to supply an intellectual rationale for the worst impulses of traditional conservatism. The hacks of academe new generation have put it about that everything is political, especially textual analyses of great literature that reveal, through the application of emancipatory ideology and subversive wordplay, that the past was even less enlightened than the present.
I thought hell is bound to be a livelier place, as he joins forever those whom he served in life, applauding their prejudices and fanning their hatred. In any case, rather like priests who have forgotten the meaning of the prayers they chant, we shall go on for quite a long time talking of books and writing books, pretending all the while not to notice that the church is empty and the parishioners have gone elsewhere to attend other gods, perhaps in silence or with new words. Odd for such a socialite who resided in Italy. Vidal and present a selection that has arc and progress. I can, however, affirm that the instances selected for this novel are worthy examples of what the medium can do. Gore Vidal was born in 1925 at the United States Military Academy at West Point. But the substance of the two-party system or non-system is unchanged.
This collection is of more delight to those interested in his literary leanings, as excepting an essay on Egyptian dictator Nasser, the first 338 pages concern literature and authors. I love that he loves Calvino. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Without ever saying so, Vidal also manages to suggest that everything is political, though in a very different, non-postmodern sense. Or maybe militarism is just an inherently stale topic. Many of the same concerns he had then would probably be echoed today, though certainly in different shibboleths.
Still, one suspects that time is likely to give the fiction rather more weight than it enjoys today. As a patriot, Vidal naturally has no patience with this affront to our civic intelligence. My recommendation is: Don't buy it unless you want to reminisce about what was going on in the English department during the '70s. Something I've noticed about essay collections is that often a writer's earliest essays will seem fresh, while the later ones seem stale. They are divided into literary and political sections, and range from 1953 to 2004. With the same qualification, the attack on affirmative action rationalized racial hostility.
Unfortunately, some of them got old, especially the ones focused at american literature. The reasons are structural—mass production and mass consumption may not leave enough room for individual autonomy—and clinical—like muscles, intellectual and civic virtues may atrophy beyond repair. Gore Vidal—novelist, playwright, critic, screenwriter, memoirist, indefatigable political commentator, and controversialist—is America's premier man of letters. Yet that is no reason not to want to practice it, or even to read it. Everything I've read by him has been lucid and amusing, no matter how serious or convoluted the subject.
The first was paganism, splendidly memorialized in Julian. And all of their preoccupations with 'The New Novel' and all of that stuff, have, in the judgement of history, turned out to be fads. They discussed — or rather, Solomon attempted to discuss — a wide range of topics related to the author, including his relation to former Vice President Al Gore; the death of his old nemesis William F. If your library does not already have the aforementioned 1400-page behemoth, this slimmer volume would be an excellent choice. No one who denies any of these things can be elected to high office. Norman is probably presiding tonight. No writer has exposed the capriciousness and deceptions at the heart of America as coolly and rightly cynically as Vidal.