Edgar Rice Burroughs

'The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal'

'The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal'

June 18, 2008

At 82, Gore Vidal is America's most formidable man of letters.

The page of previously published work included in the front matter of this latest volume -- "The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal" -- lists 24 novels, a nonfiction book, two collections of short stories, six plays, 11 volumes of essays and two memoirs. It's a formal list that leaves out the screenplays and collaborations done as work for hire, much of it of some distinction.

This is a body of work that fairly seethes with contention and indignation, but what animates -- and elevates -- it is the unmatched beauty of the prose. Fearlessness and independence of mind are the...