I have had the privilege of serving as editor and producer of Gore Vidal’s official website, GoreVidalNow.com, for the past year and a half. Getting to know Mr. Vidal, albeit slightly — a brilliant writer, political analyst, social critic and historical figure in his own right — has been a truly memorable experience. There will never be another like him.
Here is a round up of early reaction to his passing cross-posted from the official Gore Vidal site:
- Los Angeles Times: Gore Vidal, iconoclastic author, dies at 86
Gore Vidal was a literary juggernaut who wrote novels including ‘Lincoln’ and the satirical ‘Myra Breckinridge,’ and essays critics consider among the most elegant in the English language.
- New York Times: Prolific, elegant, acerbic writer
Mr. Vidal was, at the end of his life, an Augustan figure who believed himself to be the last of a breed, and he was probably right.
- The Guardian: Gore Vidal, US writer and contrarian, dies aged 86
Asked by Robert Chalmers in 2008 if he had any regrets, he claimed to have nothing that he deeply regretted in life, but rejected the suggestion that this made him lucky.
“Maybe,” he suggested, “I just played the game harder.”
- The Nation: Gore Vidal and the unfinished American Revolution
Gore Vidal loved America in the way that the best of the founders did. Indeed, he seemed at times, to be the last of their number — a fierce defender of the purest, most revolutionary of ideals at a time when the contemporary political class prattled on about Constitutional principles they neither understood nor valued.
- The Telegraph: Gore Vidal: the last of the greatest American generation
There was a time when a visit to Gore Vidal at his villa in Ravello was the literary equivalent of Lourdes. Those who could find a way would flock to Italy, where he lived with his companion Howard Auster, to find Vidal in his dressing gown launching ingenious insults like so many darts. If a death can be said to precipitate a pleasure, Vidal’s will surely be followed by delighted reminiscences of these encounters, perhaps even some that could not be told in his lifetime.
- Washington Post: Gore Vidal dies; imperious gadfly and prolific, graceful writer was 86
He was an astonishingly versatile man of letters and nearly the last major writer of the modern era to have served in World War II. Having resolved at age 20 to live by his pen, Vidal produced plays for television and Broadway, including the classic political drama “The Best Man”; helped script such movies as “Ben-Hur,” the 1959 epic starring Charlton Heston; and gained notoriety for the campy novel “Myra Breckinridge,” about a transsexual film enthusiast.
- Playbill: Gore Vidal, Prolific American writer, dead at 86; his ‘The Best Man’ continues on Broadway
- Time Magazine: Five decades of writing and reviews
- Smithsonian: Read a 2007 essay in Smithsonian by Gore Vidal, last writer of his kind
- The Guardian: Gore Vidal quotes: 26 of the Best
- Wall Street Journal: Artists tweet tributes to Gore Vidal