Joyce Carol Oates on Gore Vidal’s Lincoln:

Prodigious Gore Vidal … so kaleidoscopic in his interests, his energies and the remarkable range of his talents, the Vidal voice is as readily discernible in the comic masterpiece “Myra Breckinridge” as in the somber meditation upon mortality “Two Sisters,” as fully present in those critical essays in which, out of habit perhaps, he routinely excoriates experimentation in fiction, as it is in an experimental attempt of his own, … “Duluth.”

So zestfully does Mr. Vidal contradict himself in his practice as a writer, one is not surprised to read, as long ago as 1967, that he has all but given up on prose fiction (“three centuries is quite long enough for any literary form”) while being told that he is at work on a “chronicle” of novels dealing with American history. If Mr. Vidal the polemicist is frequently at odds with, and not particularly nourishing to, Mr. Vidal the writer of fiction, one should not hold it against him. Consistency, as Whitman knew, is one of the minor American virtues.

Read more of JCO’s review in the New York Times. 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s