Gore Vidal

The Revealing First Entries in 10 Fictional Diaries

Marilyn Monroe made the character Lorelei Lee famous after her portrayal of the diamond-loving gold-digger in the 1953 Howard Hawks musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. But author Anita Loos, who was born on this day, invented the outrageous blonde in her 1925 Jazz-Age novel of the same name. Written in the form of Lorelei’s diary, spelling mistakes and all, Loos captures the character’s personality and obsession with wealth and status in the opening entry. These other fictional diaries are equally telling, revealing powerful themes and insights into each character from the very first page. It’s also fascinating to see how the diary format has often been relied upon to express the inner world of fictional women throughout literature. … Read More

  • 0

Gore Vidal’s Insane, Rejected Cairo Pulp Novel Resurfaces

The little man shook his great head. “I have been to many countries. I’ve done many things. Now I play piano at Le Couteau Rouge.”

“What do you know about a woman named Hélène de Rastignac, a French countess?”

Le Mouche sighed. “Many things. I know, for instance, that she is not French, but Alexandrian, and I know that she is not a countess.”

“But is she rich?”

“I shouldn’t be surprised.”

“Was she a spy in the war?”

“Everyone in Cairo was a spy. It was the thing to be.” … Read More

  • 0

The Best and Worst of Sundance 2015 (Documentary Edition)

The Sundance Film Festival draws to a close this weekend, but your film editor is already headed home from the land of snowy mountains, altitude headaches, crowded shuttles, and indie flicks galore. Because I managed to take in so many Sundance titles this year (34 total), we’re splitting our capsule review roundup into two parts; tomorrow we’ll look at the fest’s narrative films of note, while the focus today is on the documentary premieres and competition entrants. These 19 movies covered everything from sexual exploitation to famous faces to the movies themselves, with intelligence and grace; they (OK, most of them) are worth keeping an eye on in the months to come. … Read More

  • 0

50 of the Greatest Literary Moments on TV

It’s probably safe to say that media tends to refer to itself, in one way or another — and referring to literature, as opposed to other forms of pop culture, is one way to make just about anything a little more highbrow. Television, notoriously full of references and allusions, might be the worst/best culprit, and the most fun to hunt through for literary moments — after all, nothing’s more fun than seeing books on the boob tube. Here, you’ll find 50 of the greatest and most memorable literary allusions, shout-outs, cameos, and references on television, as well as real-life author appearances and whole episodes, or even whole seasons, based on… Read More

  • 0

10 Great, Underrated Movies From 2014

In many ways, you can tell just as much about what kind of year it’s been by the movies that aren’t on the many year-end Top 10s and critics’ awards lists. If the regulars in those lists represented all there was to see, well, that’d be one thing (and in the case of this year’s movies, a fine thing); but 2014 was such an embarrassment of riches that even a rundown of the performances and films that aren’t generating “buzz” is pretty impressive. So, in advance of our own roundup of the year’s best movies later this week, we offer you a few less-discussed titles still worthy of your consideration. … Read More

  • 0

25 Authors Who Wrote Great Books Before They Turned 25

Picture it: teenage Mary Shelley was on a vacation getaway, with her husband Percy and some of his rambunctious poet friends, like that rogue Lord Byron… and out of the group of legends, it’s Shelley herself who arguably published the greatest work of all at the ridiculous age of 30: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, a book that has penetrated our human consciousness. In honor of Shelley’s birthday this month, here’s a list of 25 other writers who created heartbreakingly beautiful work before they could get a discount on a rental… Read More

  • 0

Flavorwire’s Guide to Indie Flicks to See in May

Tonight, a certain overworked web slinger will swing into something like 4000 screens across the country, kicking off the summer movie season in an appropriate fashion: with a big, dumb, terrible franchise movie that will gross more money than most of us can even imagine. But don’t worry — contrary to what the ubiquitous marketing campaigns of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and a handful of others might indicate, there are other movies coming out this summer, and here are a few worth seeking out this month. … Read More

  • 0

When Celebrities Sue Celebrities: A History

The news that Donald Trump is dropping — for now, anyway! — his monumentally stupid (even for him) lawsuit against Bill Maher may be good for the humorless blowhard and reality TV star, but it’s disappointing for late-night comedy writers and celeb jurisprudence fans. C’mon, admit it: that would’ve been a fun trial, if for nothing else than Maher’s testimony. At any rate, while we’re waiting to see if Trump holds true on his threat to return to the matter at a later date, here’s a look back at other instances of celebrities — real and C-list — who’ve taken each other to court. … Read More

  • 0

Tournament of Books Organizers Pick the Winners of 12 Classic Literary Beefs

Today is the first day of The Morning News‘s epic annual Tournament of Books, an excellent and wordy alternative (or supplement) to March Madness for all us literary types. To celebrate, we asked the ToB’s organizers — the venerable Rosecrans Baldwin, Kevin Guilfoile, John Warner, and Andrew Womack — to act as judges for a few imaginary literary match-ups. Because who doesn’t want to imagine the results of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky throwing down? After the jump, find out who would win in a fight — Mailer or Vidal, Hemingway or Faulkner, Dorothy Parker or anybody, and more. Don’t agree? Argue your literary hearts out in the comments, and then be sure to get in on the real-life highbrow smackdown here. … Read More

  • 0

The 10 Grumpiest Authors in Literary History

The new issue of The Believer features an interview with the late Maurice Sendak. Inspired by his “legendary crossness,” we’ve rounded up a list of the grumpiest authors of all… Read More

  • 25