Gore Vidal: A Critical Companion

Gore Vidal: A Critical Companion

Gore Vidal: A Critical Companion

Gore Vidal: A Critical Companion


This is the first full-length study to include Vidal's most recent novels and the first designed to meet the needs of the general reader as well as students of contemporary literature. It includes discussions of Lincoln, Empire, Hollywood, and Live from Golgotha, as well as his earlier novels. Baker and Gibson show that while Vidal's novels are tremendously entertaining, they are also serious examinations of a recurring theme - the decline of the West in general and the decline of the United States in particular. A biographical sketch precedes a general discussion of Vidal's early novels. The discussion of each novel includes sections on plot and character development, thematic issues, narrative style, and an alternative critical approach from which to read the novel. A complete bibliography of Vidal's fiction, as well as selected reviews and criticism, complete the book and will be helpful to students, librarians, and adult book discussion participants.


The authors who appear in the series Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers are all best-selling writers. They do not have only one successful novel, but a string of them. Fans, critics, and specialist readers eagerly anticipate their next book. For some, high cash advances and breakthrough sales figures are automatic; movie deals often follow. Some writers become household names, recognized by almost everyone.

But novels are read one by one. Each reader chooses to start and, more importantly, to finish a book because of what she or he finds there. The real test of a novel is in the satisfaction its readers experience. This series acknowledges the extraordinary involvement of readers and writers in creating a best-seller.

The authors included in this series were chosen by an Advisory Board composed of high school English teachers and high school and public librarians. They ranked a list of best-selling writers according to their popularity among different groups of readers. Writers in the top-ranked group who had not received book-length, academic literary analysis (or none in at least the past ten years) were chosen for the series. Because of this selection method, Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers meets a need that is not addressed elsewhere.

The volumes in the series are written by scholars with particular expertise in analyzing popular fiction. These specialists add an academic focus to the popular success that the best-selling writers already enjoy.

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