Gore Vidal, who died on Tuesday, will be remembered as one of the first American writers to deal openly with homosexuality in his fiction. He'll also be remembered for his failed efforts to follow his grandfather into politics and for his feuds with William Buckley and Norman Mailer.But above all, perhaps, Vidal should be remembered as one of the finest American essayists of the past century. "His essays celebrate the triumph of private values over the public ones of power," said poet Stephen Spender. "They represent the drama of the private face perpetually laughing at, and through, the public one." . . .
For the complete article (revised and expanded), see Gore Vidal on Writing, Rewriting, and Reading.