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Gore Vidal remembered: a larger-than-life literary presence (+video)

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(Read caption) Gore Vidal, who died Tuesday, was a prolific American author, provocateur, and Renaissance man.
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Gore Vidal, the literary juggernaut, contrarian commentator and iconoclast who defied categorization, has died. Vidal died at his Los Angeles home Tuesday evening at the age of 86.

“No one else in what he calls 'the land of the tin ear' can combine better sentences into more elegantly sustained demolition derbies than Vidal does in some of his best essays,” Thomas Mallon once wrote in the National Review.

Arguably, Vidal’s greatest accomplishment was not to be found among his 25 novels, Broadway plays, more than 200 essays, or even his National Book Award, which the acclaimed writer won in 1993 for his collection of essays “United States: Essays, 1952-1992.” Rather, writes the UK’s Guardian, “his greatest work was, perhaps, his life itself – an American epic which sprawled beyond literature to encompass Hollywood, Broadway, Washington and the Bay of Naples, with incidental roles for almost every major American cultural and political figure of the 20th century.” For who else “gave JFK the idea for the Peace Corps, was called in to rescue the script of Ben-Hur, ran unsuccessfully for both Congress and the Senate, and got into a fistfight with Norman Mailer.”

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