The Life of Writer Gore Vidal





The Life of Writer Gore Vidal
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius

“Gore Vidal (pronounced “gor vee-doll”) was born into a privileged family, as his father was Eugene Luther Vidal, Director of Air Commerce within President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration from 1933 – 1937. Vidal’s father was a pioneer in the field of aviation, and envisioned becoming the Henry Ford of aviation and as such he designed multiple aircraft which were cost effective and safe, with one model being so unassailable that Vidal flew it at the age of 10. Eugene had a romantic affair with pilot Amelia Earhart after his marriage had separated with Vidal’s mother Nina, marrying Hugh D. Auchincloss (pronounced “ausch-en-closs”) who Vidal referred to as “Hugh D.” (pronounced “hew-dee”) then divorcing him which prompted Auchincloss to marry Jacqueline Bouvier, Jacqueline Kennedy’s mother. This tied Vidal and the Kennedy family together which ended up proving useful later on in life.

Vidal found his mother exhausting and exasperating, as she was an alcoholic and emotionally unavailable, with the two constantly in conflict. Vidal accounts that his mother was always up to something and detested witnesses, to which Vidal constantly found himself playing the part of, as he viewed himself an observer, desiring to become a writer and novelist at the age of 15 – 16. After an argument in London, England, Vidal and his mother never spoke again, with his mother dying of a long term illness in her later years.

Vidal’s grandfather Thomas Gore was the person who most greatly influenced his personality, stemming from a long lineage of 15 generations of Anglo-Irish preachers and politicians, a well read family who were witty and sharp, doing exceedingly well for themselves in the American south, and acquiring many coveted offices in politics. Thomas was an autodidact, who was blind, and managed to earn a judicial doctorate by having his cousin read his textbooks aloud. Thomas was blinded by accident upon 2 separate occasions by age 10 but flourished despite this disability during an era in which disability was not well compensated. Vidal changed his name from Eugene Louis Vidal to “Gore Vidal” out of respect and admiration for his grandfather. Because of Vidal’s grandfathers influence, he was able to visit the U.S. Senate and read to Thomas which provided him the opportunity to listen to and learn from other members of the U.S. Senate. Thomas was not fond of the human race and often stated that if there were any other race available, he would happily go and join it. Thomas read atheist literature in secret, providing Vidal the same literary background that Mark Twain was given including writers like William Cowper Brann’s Iconoclast journal and Robert Ingersoll‘s work.

Thomas believed in peace and negotiation, warning against conflict in 1917, believing that another major European conflict would collapse the American system of government. Thomas was 1 of 7 senators who voted against World War I which cost him his seat within the U.S. Senate due to the political fall out. Thomas died poor, the only poor senator from Oklahoma, United States of America, an oil state, because he took no financial contributions from industry. Vidal’s grandfather was born in the 1870’s and one of his best friends was Robert Lincoln, the son of Abraham Lincoln.

Vidal attended the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, United States of America, and was believed to be immensely intelligent by his peers and teachers. Vidal became an orator, a class politician of sorts, as he was interacting with teenage boys his age, something he rarely “

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