23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023
Portrait Gore Vidal
© Hartwig Klappert

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal was born in Westpoint, New York, in 1925.  His full name is Eugene Luther Gore Vidal, which refers back to his grandfather, Senator Thomas Pryor Gore, and thus, to his descent from one of the most politically influential families in the USA.  He entered the army at eighteen and served 1945 as first mate on a transport ship in the Aleutian Islands near Alaska.  During this time he wrote his first novel, ‘Williwaw’, a seafaring tale in the style of Melville and Hemingway, published in 1946.  After its success he gave up the job at a publishing house that he had accepted upon his discharge.  In 1946 he moved to Guatemala and worked as a freelance writer, and in 1948 embarked on extensive travels through Europe, during which he met literary greats including André Gide.  That same year his novel ‘The City and the Pillar’ was published, which caused a stir due to the appearance for the first time of a homosexual protagonist who was neither eccentric nor moved in a dubious milieu, but came rather from the petit-bourgeois middle class. Despite this first bestseller, Vidal failed to receive critical recognition in the years that followed.  He turned to writing detective stories, scripts for film and television, as well as Broadway plays and essays.  In addition Vidal exhibited the political acumen that he had acquired through his familial ties to America’s political elite.  Since the mid 1950’s his engagement in US politics has been highly visible.  He ran for political office and belonged to John F. Kennedy’s “inner circle”. His minutely researched historical novels, in which ancient and American history and its ambivalent heroes such as Julian, Xerxes, Lincoln and Burr become characters, are a facet of his prolific and polymathic oeuvre. Another facet is the parodic, which finds expression in his play with travesty like in ‘Myra Breckinridge’ (1968), or in ‘Messiah’ (1954) and ‘Live from Golgotha’ (1992), when questioning the Christian sanctimoniousness of society.  His reputation as a biting and pertinent commentator on the political landscape of the United States is legendary. Current evidence for this lies in the volumes of essays ‘Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace’ (2002) and ‘Imperial America’ (2004), in which he criticises above all US foreign policy. After many years in Italy, Gore Vidal once more lived mainly in the United States, where he died on July 31st 2012 aged 86.

© international literature festival berlin


The Season of Comfort
New York, 1949
Grove Press
New York, 1966
Myra Breckinridge
London, 1968
A Thirsty Evil: seven short stories
Books for Libraries Press
Freeport, 1970
Betrachtungen auf einem sinkenden Schiff
Kipenheuer & Witsch
Köln, Berlin, 1971
Übersetzung: Eric Burger
Angenehme Reise und Witwen am Nachmittag
Wien, München, 1972
Übersetzung: Eric Burger
Random House
New York, 1973
Random House
New York, 1974
Random House
New York, 1976
Matters of Fact and Fiction
Random House
New York, 1977
Random House
New York, 1978
Random House
New York, 1981
The Second American Revolution and Other Essays
Random House
New York, 1982
Random House
New York, 1983
Random House
New York, 1984
American Plastic
Hoffmann & Campe
Hamburg, 1986
Dark Green, Bright Red
Ballantine Books
New York, 1986
Ich, Cyrus
Hoffmann & Campe
Hamburg, 1986
Andre Dutsch
London, 1987
Random House
New York, 1987
A View from the Diners Club
Andre Dutsch
London, 1991
Live from Golgotha
Andre Dutsch
London, 1992
Screening History
Andre Dutsch
London, 1992
United States: Essays
Random House
New York, 1993
The City and the Pillar
Andre Dutsch
London, 1994
München, 1995
Übersetzung: Günter Panske
München, 1998
Übersetzung: Friedrich Griese
The Smithsonian Institution
Little Brown
London, 1998
Virgin Islands
London, 1999
Das ist nicht Amerika
München, 2002
Übersetzung: Ulrich Blumenbach
God Bless Amerika oder Die Verbrechen einer Supermacht
Verlag Europäische Ideen
Berlin, 2000
Das goldene Zeitalter
München, 2001
Übersetzung: Silvia Moravetz
Ewiger Krieg für ewigen Frieden
Europäische Verlagsanstalt
Hamburg, 2002
Übersetzung: Bernhard Jendricke, Barbara Steckhan
München, 2002
Übersetzung: Christian Spiel, Rudolf Hermstein
Europäische Verlagsanstalt
Hamburg, 2003
Übersetzung: Bernhard Jendricke, Rita Seuß
Amerikas Traum vom Fliegen
Müller & Nerding
München, 2003
Inventing a Nation
Yale University Press
New Haven, 2003
Die vergessliche Nation
Europäische Verlagsanstalt
Hamburg, 2004
Übersetzung: Bernhard Jendricke

Conversations with Gore Vidal (Ed. Richard Peabody)
University Press of Mississippi
Jackson, 2005

Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir 1964 to 2006
New York, 2006

Clouds and Eclipses: The Collected Short Stories
Carroll & Graf
New York, 2006

Übersetzer: Gottfried Beutel, Ulrich Blumenbach, Eric Burger, Stefan Dornuf, Dieter Dörr, Friedrich Griese, Gesa Gross, Rudolf Hermstein, Bernhard Jendricke, Barbara Jung, Peter Kobbe, Gabriele Kocklemus-Jochum, Kollektiv Drucker-Reif, Helmut Kossodo, Silvia Morawetz, Günter Panske, Rita Seuß, Christian Spiel, Barbara Steckhan, Kurt Wagenseil, Philipp Weiler