Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal

Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal By Jay Parini, Empire of Self A Life of Gore Vidal An intimate authorized yet totally frank biography of Gore Vidal one of the most accomplished visible and controversial American novelists and cultural figures of the past century The p
  • Title: Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal
  • Author: Jay Parini
  • ISBN: 9780385537568
  • Page: 179
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal By Jay Parini, An intimate, authorized yet totally frank biography of Gore Vidal 1925 2012 , one of the most accomplished, visible, and controversial American novelists and cultural figures of the past century The product of thirty years of friendship and conversation, Jay Parini s Empire of Self digs behind the glittering surface of Gore Vidal s colorful career to reveal the complex emAn intimate, authorized yet totally frank biography of Gore Vidal 1925 2012 , one of the most accomplished, visible, and controversial American novelists and cultural figures of the past century The product of thirty years of friendship and conversation, Jay Parini s Empire of Self digs behind the glittering surface of Gore Vidal s colorful career to reveal the complex emotional and sexual truths underlying his celebrity strewn life But there is plenty of glittering surface as well a virtual Who s Who of the twentieth century, from Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart through the Kennedys, Johnny Carson, Leonard Bernstein, and the cr me de la cr me of Hollywood Also a generous helping of feuds with the likes of William F Buckley, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, and The New York Times, among other adversaries The life of Gore Vidal teemed with notable incidents, famous people, and lasting achievements that call out for careful evocation and examination Jay Parini crafts Vidal s life into an accessible, entertaining story that puts the experience of one of the great American figures of the postwar era into context, introduces the author and his works to a generation who may not know him, and looks behind the scenes at the man and his work in ways never possible before his death Provided with unique access to Vidal s life and his papers, Parini excavates many buried skeletons yet never loses sight of his deep respect for Vidal and his astounding gifts This is the biography Gore Vidal novelist, essayist, dramatist, screenwriter, historian, wit, provocateur, and pioneer of gay rights has long needed.
    Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal By Jay Parini,
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      179 Jay Parini
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      Posted by:Jay Parini
      Published :2019-07-16T00:59:04+00:00

    About "Jay Parini"

    1. Jay Parini

      Jay Parini born 1948 is an American writer and academic He is known for novels and poetry, biography and criticism.

    280 thoughts on “Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal”

    1. Gore Vidal was hilarious But he wouldn t have found this book so His ego was transcendingly enormous and he liked public recognition too When Parini who knew him very well went into Vidal s writing room for the first time he was surprised to see pictures of the author and peons of praise covering the walls He asked Vidal what it was all about and was told, I like to be reminded of just who I am Quite.I read the abridged BBC version It was genius I ve just ordered the hardback Sadly the American [...]


    2. A balanced, entertaining, and well researched biography written by a friend, writing peer, and neighbor of Vidal during the decades of his residence in Italy Having loved Vidal s Burr and Lincoln , I became curious about their origins from the man projected to us over the decades in the media as a witty public persona and outspoken political commentator Many see these two works, along with Julian from his Roman Empire set, as his most significant accomplishments Others appreciate his fiction th [...]


    3. Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn Gore VidalVidal s favourite photograph of himself, by Jane BrownMy first inkling of the existence of a writer going by the exotic sounding name of Gore Vidal 1925 2012 came about in a rather circuitous, some would say unorthodox, manner An odd 8 years ago this tender youth and budding film geek with a penchant for all things transgressive got his paws on the fully uncut, 156 minute version of the infamous Caligula 1979 , t [...]


    4. Jay Parini, a long term friend of Gore Vidal, was given full access to his papers and circle of friends for interview Because this is a posthumous publication, it is candid than most authorized biographies It is personalized with chapters introduced with a short reminiscence.You come to appreciate Vidal s self education that began at the side of his blind grandfather, Senator Thomas Pryor Gore Vidal was with him on the Senate floor and in meetings at home and elsewhere While he rubbed shoulders [...]


    5. BOTWbbc programmes b06nn7cwDescription The life of Gore Vidal was an amazingly full one a life of colourful incident, famous people and lasting achievements that calls out for careful evocation and examination Through Jay Parini s eyes and words comes an accessible, entertaining story that puts the life and times of one of the great American figures of the post war era into context, that introduces the author to a generation who didn t know him before and looks behind the scenes at the man and h [...]


    6. During his lifetime, Gore Vidal established a fine reputation as a very versatile, inventive writer Novels, tele scripts in the early days of TV in the 1950s, Vidal made a name for himself as a scriptwriter for many of the live teledramas of the era , movie scripts, plays one of them, The Best Man was a Broadway hit in 1960 , and essays Vidal was also a wit, polemicist, gadfly, and socio political critic unlike any other Whether you encountered him on any of the popular TV talk shows e.g The Dic [...]


    7. I have read a lot of literary biographies, in fact biographies of writers are the ones I read and like the most And this book is one of the best I have ever read.I dislike biographies of writers which spend most of their time revealing plots of the novels written and critically examining the books that have been written I would rather read the books myself to find these matters out Parini does a masterful job of sticking to the biographical facts While he obviously mentions Vidal s books, he dev [...]



    8. Empire of Self is a stunner Jay Parini has managed to collect and share all the most exciting highlights of Gore Vidal s life, which is no easy feat as the highlights abound The rich and interesting life of Vidal seems almost unreal it s as if from the day he was born each moment he lived was a story in and of itself Gore Vidal knew everyone and everyone knew him, for better or worse Parini s personal experiences with Gore craft the book into a loving testament to Vidal s character, and his skil [...]


    9. About as fair a biography as we are apt to receive on Gore Vidal which isn t to say it is fair enough Mr Parini eschews the formal, comprehensive approach taken by Fred Kaplan in his heftier, earlier Gore Vidal, preferring instead to give a series of brief surveys of the notable incidents and acquaintances of Vidal s life Unlike Kaplan, however Parini was a friend and common acquaintance of Vidal s over the last 3 decades give or take of his life, and that lends his anecdotes and recollected c [...]


    10. From BBC radio 4 Book of the Week The authorised behind the scenes biography of one of America s great and most under rated man of letters, the cosmopolitan and wickedly satirical Vidal, from a devoted yet candid old friend.In Episode 1, the author Jay Parini recalls his first encounter with Gore and describes a privileged, lonely childhood and the birth of the political, social and sexual interests that would last a lifetime.In Episode 3, despite commercial success, lacklustre reviews of The Ci [...]


    11. this book was the third biography I read in Dec 2015 It is decently written but lacks drive largely due to the insipidity in there such a word of the topic Mr Parini knew Vidal, and admired him, which comes across clearly, but the tome lacked oomph I mean, how many times can you say Vidal was bright, witty, handsome, etc etc, but fail to provide any examples, much less insight Nevertheless, I am interested in following up with some of Vidal s later works e.g Burr having read Julian previously Th [...]


    12. Gore Vidal s greatest work of art was his own life He certainly created many great fictional characters the pagan emperor Julian and bisexual Myra Breckinridge, among others but none matched the expanse and variety of his own Biographer Jay Parini, a close friend for decades no mean achievement in itself is perfectly equipped to capture both Vidal s massive egoism and substantial achievement.Early in his career, Vidal had an uncanny, Zelig like ability to show up at just the right place and time [...]


    13. Poet, novelist and biographer Jay Parini One Matchless Time A Life of William Faulkner has written an intimate, clear eyed and authoritative biography of Gore Vidal 1925 2012 Parini s nearly 30 year friendship doesn t blind him to his friend s faults He could be cantankerous, testy, ill mannered, a terrible snob, a drunken bore, writes Parini But he was also a man I admired and valued as a friend Vidal wrote two memoirs Palimpsest in 1995, and Point to Point Navigation in 2006 but he wanted Pari [...]


    14. Some interesting people sometimes do not live interesting lives I ve been through some of these biographies from time to time, but that is definitely not the case of Gore Vidal He has been around, traveled the world, met really fascinating people and was a great writer during his time His books were quite influential to my generation, especially the historical novels and the essays, which I still read with pleasure nowadays His great fear, of being a writer that would endure, looks very real tod [...]


    15. The title of this new biography is somewhat off putting in my opinion I was unsettled enough to reconsider reading it at all Obviously, it is a quote Mr Vidal used quite often Nevertheless, it left a bad after taste.Short review to follow.Need to read Gore Vidal books in 2016 Burr Myra Breckinridge The Golden Age The City and the Pillar Palimpsest



    16. The life of one of America s greatest and most controversial novelists, essayists and commentators, with detailed and gossipy vignettes from his long life.


    17. I enjoyed this biography by Gore Vidal s long time friend, author Jay Parini, very much It s a very intimate, no holds barred, portrait of a true Renaissance Man author of historical novels, essays, screenplays A man who could pack auditoriums with cheering crowds when he spoke A man who strove to continually improve his mind until his whiskey consumption got the better of it A man who was gay in a time when one didn t admit to being gay, yet who lived openly in love and friendship with his part [...]


    18. A superb biography, destined to be the definitive one The author s friendship with Vidal gives him unique access to his subject, but nevertheless, Parini maintains an objectivity throughout, and isn t blinded by their friendship Exceptionally well written, quite informative and candid, it is all one could hope for in any biography The hard to please Gore would be quite satisfied, despite the lack of obeisance.


    19. Serviceable biography of the novelist and essayist by his longtime friend Vidal in many ways was a pathetic figure, a man who consciously walled himself off from human love and affection and basked in hatred, contempt, and condescension To his credit Parini does not gloss over these massive character flaws and indeed repeatedly reminds us as if we needed it that Vidal was a preening narcissist However he lavishes far too much praise on Vidal s one note political essays all of which can be summed [...]


    20. I couldn t do it I tried, but this book was too filled with vile details and smut, without much redeeming historical content partially my own fault, since I didn t know anything about Vidal s major works, but couldn t of his life story be told without sharing details of the homosexual life style and how he accessed various erotica in Hollywood yuck



    21. The best parts of Empire of Self are the brief interludes between chapters, when we are in the moment with Gore Vidal and his friend Jay Parini There we can see, by turns, the imperious Gore and the charming and friendly Gore amusing and provocative, and also a kind of emperor, lording it over others This novelist, essayist, playwright and screenwriter, who saw himself in the days of live television as the king of hacks as well as a scintillating guest on the David Susskind, Jack Paar and Johnny [...]


    22. Thoroughly enjoying this very detailed life of Gore Vidal I have been interested in Vidal for some time This interest was greatly piqued by the documentary, Best of Enemies, about his famous debates with William F Buckley during the 1968 presidential campaign It s quite the who s who in the worlds of art and politics Samuel Barber, Jack Kennedy, Leonard Bernstein, Paul Newman, Joanna Woodward, Truman Capote And on and on.His relationship with life partner Howard Austen has just started It s inte [...]


    23. This is a good biography of Gore Vidal, but not a great one The author, Jay Parini, knew GV well but didn t seem quite to understand him He certainly did not understand the majority of Vidal s novels particularly the amazing MYRON, whose ending any schoolboy could work out, but which leaves Parini scratching his head Parini holds to the received opinion among American intellectuals that Vidal s essays are far superior to his novels It will take the death of a generation to turn that opinion arou [...]


    24. This was too full of information and context to take in the first time I read it because I was distracted by too many other things After re reading it again just now 2 months later , I realize that I got a lot out of it I like the fact that the author was a friend of Vidal s, not just a biographer It adds to the narrative and gives insights otherwise missing from other biographies Having grown up with Vidal s writings and TV appearances firmly rooted in my psyche he was one of a very few America [...]


    25. I have recently found myself enchanted by the life of Gore Vidal, and Jay Parini s biography was my first venture into learning about Vidal beyond watching Best of Enemies and The United States of Amnesia It was a satisfactory beginning to my research, but left some to be desired in terms of Vidal s relationship with Buckley Yet, it was replete with information about Vidal s sex life and his literary accomplishments.I went back and forth between rating the book three or four stars, but I ultimat [...]


    26. This book has gotten a great many mixed reviews due to its focus on the various novels and essays Vidal wrote I think this is a curious critique as these were the things that made him famous I really would have enjoyed on the work and perhaps maybe less about the life I suppose this is inevitable I did not always agree with some of the critiques of the work, finding Messiah, 1876, Creation, and Kalki getting short shift I rather like all three I do agree that the strongest books probably are Ju [...]


    27. I have a few, very few, individuals that I allow to be placed on a pedestal and Gore Vidal is one of those men I can re read all of his books and would most likely find something new that I never noticed before His writing art may be compared as a Seurat You see one big picture and then you get closer and closer and the little dots of color just tends to give a person.a new version of the story THAT is Gore Vidal.but I have been finding that if I read one or two biographies and probably include [...]


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