Gore Vidal R.I.P.


Author, essayist, screenwriter, bon vivant, and public intellectual Gore Vidal, 86, died Tuesday from complications of pneumonia. His 25 novels included THE CITY AND THE PILLAR (1948), JULIAN (1964), and MYRA BRECKENRIDGE (1968), as well as a trilogy of crime novels written under the pseudonym Edgar Box, though he was more famous to younger generations for his bon mots and television appearances.

His editor for over a decade Gerry Howard said in a brief statement:
 "Gore Vidal was the last surviving giant of a postwar crop of American literary giants. He was also that rare American writer who spoke not just to his countrymen but to the entire world, which listened closely to what he had to say. It is hard to think of another figure in our literature whose achievements were more various or who cut as dashing and visible a figure in various public realms. He can't be replaced and he most certainly will be missed. The world just became a duller place."

The NYT obit aptly described Vidal 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."

and from HuffPost:

Today, America lost one of its most talented and contrary men of letters.

Gore Vidal died aged 86 of complications from pneumonia. Never short of a witty barb, his sharp quips made many refer to him as his generation's Mark Twain.

He was amazingly prolific, writing more than 50 books as well as Hollywood screenplays and stage plays. He was brave, standing up for causes including homosexuality and racial equality before they became acceptable to the mainstream. He was, as his literary executor writes on our page, "a crazily gifted man," generous to his friends, unflinching towards his enemies (and there were many.)

His ashes will now be placed beneath the gravestone he had made in 1994, near to that of his childhood sweetheart.

His absence is already painfully felt.

-- Andrew Losowsky
HuffPost Books Editor

Click here to read more of our coverage of the life of Gore Vidal.