Gore Vidal

Literary Birthday – 3 October – Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal was born 3 October 1925, and died 31 July 2012.

10 Gore Vidal Quotes

  1. The unfed mind devours itself.
  2. Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.
  3. By the time a man gets to be presidential material, he’s been bought ten times over.
  4. 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.
  5. No good deed goes unpunished.
  6. As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.
  7. The important thing is not the object of love, but the emotion itself.
  8. The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return.
  9. Never have children, only grandchildren.
  10. As the age of television progresses the Reagans will be the rule, not the exception. To be perfect for television is all a President has to be these days.

Gore Vidal’s Top 10 Quotes on Writing

  1. Some writers take to drink, others take to audiences.
  2. Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head.
  3. Write what you know will always be excellent advice for those who ought not to write at all. Write what you think, what you imagine, what you suspect!
  4. I sometimes think it is because they are so bad at expressing themselves verbally that writers take to pen and paper in the first place.
  5. Write something, even if it’s just a suicide note.
  6. How marvellous books are, crossing worlds and centuries, defeating ignorance and, finally, cruel time itself.
  7. Southerners make good novelists: they have so many stories because they have so much family.
  8. You can’t really succeed with a novel anyway; they’re too big. It’s like city planning. You can’t plan a perfect city because there’s too much going on that you can’t take into account. You can, however, write a perfect sentence now and then. I have.
  9. Today’s public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can’t read them either.
  10. Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal was an American author who wrote essays, novels, screenplays, and Broadway plays. His most highly regarded novels are Myra Breckinridge, Julian, Burr, Lincoln, and The City and the Pillar. His screen-writing credits included Ben-Hur (1959) which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. He was also known for his feuds with Norman Mailer and Truman Capote. Remembered for his caustic wit, he referred to himself as a ‘gentleman bitch’ and has been described as the 20th century’s answer to Oscar Wilde. He was the last of a generation of American writers who served in World War II, including J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, and Joseph Heller.

Source for Image


Carl Van Vechten, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 3rd October 2012