Fresh Air Remembers Writer And Critic Gore Vidal | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Fresh Air Remembers Writer And Critic Gore Vidal

Play associated audio

In Gore Vidal's New York Times obituary, Charles McGrath described the writer as "the elegant, acerbic all around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization." Vidal died Tuesday at the age of 86.

Some of the books Vidal became best known for were historical novels including Burr and Lincoln. As Reed Johnson wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "Vidal's revisionist outlook struck some critics as brilliant and others as almost gleefully perverse."

Vidal's satirical novel Myra Breckinridge is believed to be the first novel to feature a transsexual. His plays include the political drama The Best Man, which is currently back on Broadway, and his screenplays include Ben Hur. He wrote many provocative essays, ran for office twice — and lost — and frequently appeared on TV talk shows, where he famously sparred with William Buckley and Norman Mailer.

Vidal described himself as obsessed with America; his grandfather was a senator and his father served in Roosevelt's Cabinet. Terry Gross spoke with Vidal in 1988 and 1992. Fresh Air remembers the writer and critic with excerpts from those two interviews.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

A 'Show Boat' With An Asian-American Cast Hits The Rocks

Racial tensions between blacks and whites are at the heart of the "Ol' Man River" musical. Asian-American actors say it doesn't make sense to get on board.
NPR

Silly, Saucy, Scary: Photos Show The Many Faces Of Ugly Fruit

Wonky produce can take on absurdly entertaining shapes. But one food activist says learning to love these crazy contours is key to stopping mounds of food waste.
NPR

Funding Homeland Security: Where Do We Go From Here?

President Obama late Friday signed a stopgap measure to keep the department running for another week, but the tussle over his executive action on immigration, linked to the funding, is not over yet.
NPR

A Neuroscientist Weighs In: Why Do We Disagree On The Color Of The Dress?

Robert Siegel speaks with Dr. Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist at Wellesley College, about the dress that has the whole Internet asking: What color is it?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.