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Anaïs Nin
May 6, 2009 3:06 PM   Subscribe

As I read Incest, I realized that something which I had always taken to be unique, the voice of Myra Breckinridge, was actually that of Anaïs in all the flowing megalomania of the diaries. - Gore Vidal, Palimpsest - pg. 108

French-language television interview. And - appropriately - not just one, but two Twitter feeds.
posted by Joe Beese (12 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I read "Palimpsest" and thought Vidal carried a grudge when possibly he could have, in old age, taken a generous view of other people. You might think he'd be deliciously bitchy, but mostly he's not, and his grouchiness makes one forget what a good writer he was. When I first read "Myra Breckinridge" it took my breath away. I'd highly recommend that people read "Lincoln" "Burr" and "1876" before reading about all Vidal's feuds with everybody.
posted by acrasis at 3:22 PM on May 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Vidal did have a persistent grudge against Nin, though he does sometimes give her credit for the writing. (He ranks her above Henry Miller, for instance. )

Unforgiving later Vidal:

"Anais will never be more than a series of busy footnotes clacking like castanets through the biographies of others" - Vidal, "Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell", 1988.
posted by WPW at 3:29 PM on May 6, 2009


The exception being that feud with William F. Buckley. Comedy gold.
posted by box at 3:33 PM on May 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


That Nin quote WPW pasted is especially sad considering how forgettable the output of Vidal's last couple of decades have been. Clacking indeed.
posted by rokusan at 3:40 PM on May 6, 2009


Really can't stand Gore Vidal. And with regard to Nin being a "series of busy footnotes," can anyone seriously make the claim that Vidal is a serious literary figure? His life's work adds up, at best, to the clever work of a social gadfly whose most memorable accomplishment is the cultivation of his personality as a camp parody of learned, irascible condescension.
posted by jayder at 6:29 PM on May 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


jayder: " can anyone seriously make the claim that Vidal is a serious literary figure?"

'The master essayist of our age.' - Washington Post Book World

'Vidal is the best all-round American man of letters since Edmund Wilson.' - Newsweek

link

I can't vouch for how seriously they meant it.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:38 PM on May 6, 2009


And given their rivalry in life, I bet the shade of Anaïs Nin is mighty pissed off that Vidal is the sole subject of discussion in a thread that was supposed to be about her.

No moderating intended. I like all the comments so far.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:45 PM on May 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


The exception being that feud with William F. Buckley. Comedy gold .

I suppose I can see how it would be good laughs for others, but I never really understood the true comedic nature of that exchange. Would it be as funny for Limbaugh to call Colin Powell the n-word today on FOX News, I wonder?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:36 PM on May 6, 2009


Completely unrelated to the original post and the ensuing thread, but Anais Nin rocks me out. Her works are in my nightstand. JMHO.
posted by mnb64 at 7:37 PM on May 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I suppose I can see how it would be good laughs for others, but I never really understood the true comedic nature of that exchange. Would it be as funny for Limbaugh to call Colin Powell the n-word today on FOX News, I wonder?

Fair point, but it is funny because:

Gore is clearly delighted and amused by it, not least because ad hominem attacks are usually a sign that you're winning the argument. He was trying to get a rise out of Buckley and goading him; getting a homophobic / violent rise out of him is the best result Gore could have hoped for. Buckley walked straight into a trap looks a fool.

You also have to see it as a period piece. Another strand to the amusement is the exaggerated deference and civility even as Buckley offers to punch Gore. That civility is entirely lacking these days and you wouldn't see it on FOX.

So yeah it is very funny. But it's (mainly) funny because the object of the slur wanted it. Anyway, Anais Nin, whatever.
posted by rhymer at 2:29 AM on May 7, 2009


Would it be as funny for Limbaugh to call Colin Powell the n-word today on FOX News, I wonder?

Extremely. Limbaugh's slimy relevance all collapsing into a career singularity in one moment of television?

Must-see TV.
posted by rokusan at 7:12 AM on May 7, 2009


The exception being that feud with William F. Buckley. Comedy gold.

That was like a high-brow, more sober version of "Shut Up, Little Man"
posted by echolalia67 at 10:16 AM on May 7, 2009


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