The Holy Family Essay Gore Vidal

There were few subjects for which he could not muster a bon mot, memorably dismissive phrase or cutting aside.

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Further novels followed — The Season of Comfort; A Search for The King; Dark Green, Bright Red; The Judgment of Paris; and Messiah (none very successful commercially) — and three detective stories which, possibly as a reaction to the “blacklisting” after The City and the Pillar, he wrote under the nom de plume Edgar Box.

As his career as a novelist dwindled away in the 1950s he contributed to, rather than wrote, screenplays for MGM, Columbia, Warner Brothers and United Artists.

Vidal himself joined the Army after graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.

He served in a transport ship, ending the war as a warrant officer, and it was on board ship that he wrote his first novel, Williwaw (1946).

The following year, however, he produced The City and the Pillar, a treatment of youthful homosexuality told against the background of the story of Sodom.

At the time the Kinsey Report was just out, and homosexuality was more widely discussed, and seen to exist, than ever before.Naturally Vidal himself was immune to such corruption, and appeared on television as often as he could to ram home the point.It was a compliment to his talent and wit that he could appear with such frequency on the most popular medium to deride popular culture, and be welcomed back the following week to do it again.Years later Vidal wrote: “I wanted to take risks, to try something no American had done before.I decided to examine the homosexual underworld (which I knew rather less well than I pretended) and in the process show the 'naturalness’ of homosexual relations.” Published two years after Iwo Jima, the book was dedicated “to JT”.Vidal always said that the book affected the reviews he received from major publications, notably The New York Times, for his later books.“He may have been right,” The New York Times itself accepted yesterday.Boundless confidence in his own talents manifested itself in disparagement of the plebeians of this world.But he also went out of his way to put down the American academic and literary worlds, which largely ignored him and which he lambasted for setting standards for excellence to which he did not subscribe.The word means an Arctic squall, and the book is threaded on the effect of the storm on a crew of young men in cramped conditions.While it was praised, Vidal’s second book, In a Yellow Wood (1947), was so poor as to be dismissed even by its author.


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