Gore Vidal - Palimpsest: A Memoir - Little, Brown Book Group

Palimpsest: A Memoir

By Gore Vidal

  • Paperback
  • £10.99

This is a memoir of the first 40 years of Gore Vidal's life, ranging back and forth across a rich history. He spent his childhood in Washington DC, in the household of his grandfather, the blind senator from Oklahoma, T.P. Gore, and in the various domestic situations of his complicated and exasperating mother, Nina. Then come schooldays at St Albans and Exeter; the army; life as a literary wunderkind in New York, London, Rome and Paris in the '40s and '50s; sex in an age of promiscuity; and a campaign for Congress in 1960. His cast includes Tennessee Williams, the Kennedys, Eleanor Roosevelt, Truman Capote, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Christopher Isherwood, Jack Kerouac, Jane and Paul Bowles, Santayana, Anais Nin, Norman Mailer, Leonard Bernstein and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, among others.

Biographical Notes

Gore Vidal is one of the greatest living American novelists and essayists. He has written numerous Hollywood screenplays, including BEN HUR, and ran as a Democratic candidate for Congress. He appeared with Tim Robbins in the film BOB ROBERTS.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780349108001
  • Publication date: 01 Aug 1996
  • Page count: 448
An engrossing and beguiling read. Admirably candid, refreshingly indiscreet, intelligent and full of wit, it is also startlingly original...And unequivocal triumph. — William Boyd, DAILY TELEGRAPH BOOKS OF THE YEAR
He does not narrate his life: he revies it. The result is something quite novel and wonderfully appealing, a critical biography of himself...Vidal's life might even be his greatest work. — INDEPENDENT
Wonderfully entertaining. You want the high-level political gossip? You get it here... it offers all the zing of a Dry Martini without the danger of getting drunk. — DAILY TELEGRAPH
PALIMPSEST is a tremendous read, down and dirty from start to finish. It is also a proud and serious and truthful book... — SUNDAY TIMES
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United States

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal's reputation as America's finest essayist is an enduring one. This collection, chosen by the author from 40 years of work, contains about two-thirds of what he published in various magazines and journals. He has divided the essays into three categories, or states. State of the art covers literature, including novelists and critics, bestsellers, pieces on Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Suetonius, Nabakov and Montaigne (a previosly uncollected essay from 1992). State of the union deals with politics and public life: sex, drugs, money, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, The Holy Family (his essay on the Kennedys), Nixon, and finally Monotheism and its Discontents , a scathing critique of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In state of being, we are given personal responses to people and events: recollections of his childhood, E. Nesbit, Tarzan, Tennessee Williams and Anais Nin.

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Two Sisters

Gore Vidal

Two Sisters is Gore Vidal's fictional memoir of a love affair with a beautiful set of twins in post-war Paris - a story skilfully interwoven with notebooks, diaries and the vivid fragment of a screenplay set in ancient Greece. In seductive settings from a brothel in a Parisian backstreet to the rooftops of seventies Rome, Vidal assembles his characters, real and imagined: Cocteau and Tennessee Williams, Gide and Mailer rub shoulders with creations as unforgettable as the ageing femme fatale Marietta Donegal and Hollywood hustler and flagellant Murray Morris. All are bound together in a mesmerising fiction that builds to an extraordinary conclusion.

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The Essential Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal

Vidal writes with ease and grace, and roams through many subjects and genres. He is a master of the historical novel, in which he has explored American history, ancient history, and the history of religion. He has developed his own style of science fiction combined with satire, and in the books he refers to as his 'inventions' he writes cautionary tales about sex, politics, art, and philosophy. He is at once a contrarion, a wise man, and a romantic. He is also wickedly funny, and often outrageous. This collection (the only single volume that includes Vidal's fiction and his essays) contains two complete works - MYRA BRECKINRIDGE, his most famous novel, and THE BEST MAN, a play about the American presidency. There are selections from THE CITY AND THE PILLAR, his early, controversial novel about homosexual love, and excerpts from later works as JULIAN, DULUTH, and LIVE FROM GOLGOTHA. Selections from the American history novels - BURR, LINCOLN, 1876, EMPIRE, and WASHINGTON, D.C. - have been woven together to provide a continuous narrative.

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Season Of Comfort

Gore Vidal

A novel based on the emotional conflict centered around a son's urge to sever the pshychological umbilical cord which ties him to a selfish and possessive mother. Completely unsympathetic to his young experiences and inclinations, forever critical of his interests and reactions, she nevertheless appeals to his sympathies and attempts to hold him emotionally.

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Duluth

Gore Vidal
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Messiah

Gore Vidal
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The Smithsonian Institution

Gore Vidal
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Julian

Gore Vidal
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A Search For The King

Gore Vidal

Kidnapped and held to ransom by Duke Leopold of Austria after the Third Crusade, Richard the Lion Heart, it is said, was found by his faithful troubadour Blondel de Neel. But how? And what trials did the faithful and long-suffering lyricist have to overcome to find his king?Gore Vidal paints a broad, colourful and poignant picture of a man searching for his master; for the symbolic king who is the goal of man's eternal quest; for the spiritual centre of his life.

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The Golden Age

Gore Vidal

THE GOLDEN AGE is the final, eponymous novel that brings to an end what Gabriel Garc?a M?rquez has called 'Gore Vidal's magnificent series of historical novels or novelised histories', NARRATIVES OF EMPIRE. Like a latter day Anthony Trollope, Vidal masterfully balances the personal with the political, the invented with the historical fact. His heroine from Hollywood, Caroline Sanford, reappears in Washington as President Roosevelt schemes to get the USA into the war by provoking the Japanese. In the novel's ten year span America is master of the globe, with Japan and Europe as colony and dependency under her empire. Against this backdrop there is a glittering explosion in the arts (we see the likes of Lowell, Bernstein and Tennessee Williams and witness the opening night of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE). But by 1950 and the coming of the Korean War, the Golden Age is over. For the reader who wants to be informed as well as vastly entertained about the last two hundred years of American history there could be no better place to start than with Vidal's NARRATIVES.

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Point To Point Navigation

Gore Vidal

POINT TO POINT NAVIGATION refers to a form of navigation Gore Vidal resorted to as a first mate in the navy during World War II. As he says, 'As I was writing this account of my life and times since PALIMPSEST, I felt as if I were again dealing with those capes and rocks in the Bering Sea that we had to navigate so often with a compass made inoperable by weather.' It is a beautifully apt analogy for the hazards eluded (mostly) during his eventful life. From his desks in Ravello and the Hollywood Hills, Gore Vidal travels in memory through the arenas of literature, television, film, theatre, politics, and international society, recounting achievements and defeats, friends and enemies made (and on a number of occasions lost). Among the gathering of notables to be found in these pages, Tennessee Williams, Eleanor Roosevelt, Orson Welles, Greta Garbo, and Francis Ford Coppola. Some of the book's most moving pages are devoted to the illness and death of his partner of five decades, Howard Austen, and indeed the book is, among other things, a meditation on mortality, written in the spirit of Montaigne.

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A Thirsty Evil

Gore Vidal
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Williwaw

Gore Vidal
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Dark Green, Bright Red

Gore Vidal

In the tiny Central American republic of Tenango, a place of orchid--scented jungle, crumbling palaces and baroque cathedrals, the rainy season is over and the dusty days of winter have begun. It is time for revolution.In an old plantation house the conspirators meet: General Jorge Alvarez, returned from exile in New Orleans with his hothead of a son and his proud, beautiful daughter; a volatile entourage of disenchanted colonels and rebel priests; and Peter Nelson, an American soldier of fortune with his own reasons for joining the rebels. Yet when the waiting is over and the struggle for power under way, nothing in Tenango turns out to be what it seems, not even the tragedy that awaits them all.

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The Judgement Of Paris

Gore Vidal

The fast and furious hedonistic world of the jet-set commuting between the glamour centres of Europe is the setting for this famous novel by one of the twentieth century's most remarkable writers.Philip Warren is a personable young American who moves amongst the international demi-gods of wealth and status in search of himself and a future which will satisfy his part cynical, part romantic outlook.

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In A Yellow Wood

Gore Vidal

By night the glittering world of Times Square, cinemas, clubs and the brittle, played-out demi-monde . . . by day a wasteland of hollow men, lonely apartments and empty morning coffee stands . . . Robert Holton has just returned from the torment and strife of war in Europe and settled in a solitary existence working for a New York stockbroking business. The haunting memories of nights of love spent in Florence are suppressed as he struggles to succeed in an arid city.And when Carla turns up unexpectedly from his more passionate past, Robert finds he must choose between the fixed path of money-making and dull conventionality and the fraught, uncertain path of love and freedom.

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Selected Essays

Gore Vidal

Vidal has a fierce, uncontaminated sense of what's right and wrong, and he expresses his most intimate opinions fearlessly' John Simpson, Daily MailThis new selection brings together the best of Gore Vidal's essays, comment and criticism from his fifty-year writing career. With mercurial intelligence and often courageous - and outrageous! - forthrightness, Vidal explores his keystone subjects: primarily the worlds of literature and US politics; but also showbiz, sexuality and modern manners. His gaze ranges from the fiction of Calvino and Updike to the politics of pornography to the Clinton and Bush administrations, America post-September 11 and contemporary imperial ambitions. These essays are a witty and brilliant assessment of our times from the most memorable of American literary masters.

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I Told You So

Gore Vidal, Jon Wiener
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Hollywood

Gore Vidal

Continuing what has been dubbed his 'revenge on two hundred years of American history', Gore Vidal locates this novel in Washington. But this is 1917, and Hollywood is now competing with America's capital as the nation's power-base, just as it fights for centre-stage in this book. Caroline Sanford, erstwhile newspaper magnate, launches herself into the West Coast land of celluloid dreams and becomes, overnight, an international star. Not for nothing, on the dawn of World War One, is Caroline making films like the Huns from Hell. She is a government agent. But in Washington, that government isn't doing awfully well. Weighed down by his League of Nation's failure, by Roosevelt, Clemenceau, a stroke and the ship-like tonnage of his wife Edith, President Woodrow Wilson is on the wane - and Warren Harding is on the up. A popular, handsome, toothpick-chomping philanderer and dimwit whose wife is given to consulting spiritualists, he is about to usher in a new era. One of unprecedented scandal, cinematic extravagance and tawdry disintegration. The sort of era where the President could easily be mistaken for a film star ...

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Empire

Gore Vidal

Here is the story of arguably America's finest hour; of the time when the twentieth century dawned, Queen Victoria died, and America, basking deliciously in excess wealth, rather thought it might snap up an empire of its own. Yet while politicians muse over the potential of China or the Philippines - even Russia - empires are being built at home; railway empires; industrial empires; newspaper empires. Into this arena float the delectable Caroline Sanford, putative heiress and definite catch. Caroline is an oddity; she has been raised in France where they teach rich girls to talk and think. American society women, required only to think of themselves as the most interesting beings on earth, are rather alarmed. American men are amused - until Caroline shirks from marriage, sues her brother, buys a newspaper, and becomes that even greater oddity - a powerful woman. Mingling with the movers and shakers of the day - with President McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Randolf Hearst, Henry James, the Astors, Vanderbilts and Whitneys - Caroline Sanford echoes the glorious passage of the United States as it sweeps into a new century, reaching boldly for the world.