Gore Vidal Quotes, Fast Facts

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gore vidal quotes

gore vidal quotes

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“The more money an American accumulates, the less interesting he becomes.”

“It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.”

“Envy is the central fact of American life.”

“Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.”

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”

“A good deed never goes unpunished.”

“There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.”

“The unfed mind devours itself.”

“It is not our goal to take over the world, but to see that it is not taken over by anyone else.”

“In America, the race goes to the loud, the solemn, the hustler. If you think you’re a great writer, you must say that you are.”

“The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so.”

“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”

“The more a man has to make an effort to pay attention to something, the less apt he is to be aware of it.”

“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action.”

“The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country — and we haven’t seen them since.”

“It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.”

“It’s not enough to succeed. One’s friends must fail.”

“The idea of a good society is something you do not need a religion and eternal punishment to buttress; you need a religion if you are terrified of death.”

“The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity—much less dissent.”

“Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.”

“A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.”

“The single most important thing a writer can do is to write as well as he can.”

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”

“Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.”

“The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country — and we haven’t seen them since.”

gore vidal fast facts

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Gore Vidal, born on October 3, 1925, in West Point, New York, was a prolific American novelist and essayist known for his outspoken political opinions and witty observations.

In addition to his literary pursuits, Vidal was also an actor and wrote for television, film, and the stage.

He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire in 1943 and served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Vidal’s first novel, Williwaw (1946), based on his wartime experiences, received critical acclaim.

The City and the Pillar (1948), his third novel, shocked the public with its unadorned examination of a homosexual main character.

In 1974, Vidal explained his use of a “flat, gray, naturalistic style” in The City and the Pillar, aiming to portray the normality of the homosexual experience.

Despite generally negative reviews, the novel became a sensation.

Vidal shifted to writing plays for stage, television, and film, achieving success with works like Visit to a Small Planet and The Best Man.

He returned to writing novels with Julian (1964), a sympathetic portrait of the 4th-century pagan Roman emperor Julian the Apostate.

Washington, D.C. (1967) marked the beginning of the Narratives of Empire series, exploring prominent figures and events in American history.

Vidal’s incisive essays on contemporary American politics were collected in works like Rocking the Boat (1962) and United States: Essays, 1952–1992 (1993).

He ran for Congress in 1960 and challenged Jerry Brown in a U.S. Senate primary in 1982, although he lost both times.

Vidal used his television appearances in the 1960s and ’70s to comment on culture and politics, leading to a caustic feud with William F. Buckley, Jr.

His autobiographies, including Palimpsest: A Memoir (1995), delved into his life and experiences.

Vidal occasionally worked as an actor, appearing in films like Bob Roberts (1992) and Gattaca (1997).

Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (2013) is a documentary that surveys Vidal’s life.

Gore Vidal was a renowned American writer, known for over 200 essays and 24 novels, including works like Julian and Myra Breckinridge.

Born as Eugene Luther Vidal Jr., he grew close to his grandfather, Senator T. P. Gore, developing a passion for literature and politics.

Vidal’s parents divorced in 1935, and he later attended the St. Albans School in Washington, where he had his first homosexual relationships.

After enlisting in the U.S. Army and serving in World War II, Vidal wrote his first novel, Williwaw.

His career flourished with successful plays, novels, and essays, earning him acclaim and public attention.

Vidal died on July 31, 2012, from complications due to pneumonia, leaving a legacy of literary and political contributions.

Documentaries like Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (2013) and Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal (2015) explore his life and famous debates.

Gore Vidal’s notable quotes include, “All in all, I would not have missed this century for the world” and “A good deed never goes unpunished.”

His enduring impact is reflected in his extensive body of work and his role as a prominent intellectual figure in American culture.