Open VISIONS Forum presents man of letters Gore Vidal on March 21


"Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps twenty players, and Tennessee Williams has about five, and Samuel Beckett one - and maybe a clone of that one. I have ten or so, and that's a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them." - Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal, the near unparalleled writer who is also a seminal chronicler of American life, will deliver a talk on Wednesday, March 21 as part of Open VISIONS Forum, a distinguished lecture series of University College at Fairfield University.

Philip Eliasoph, Ph.D., professor of Visual & Performing Arts and director of Open VISIONS Forum, said Vidal stands in a category by himself. "Now in his sixth decade as a voice elucidating and chastising the American scene, Vidal has achieved an unrivalled sovereignty. Throughout his iconoclastic career, Vidal has displayed an uncanny versatility in both expository prose and stylized fiction."

Vidal's appearance is co-sponsored by The Pequot Library. It will take place at 8 p.m. at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. For tickets, visit www.quickcenter.com or call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-ARTS-396.

Two years ago, Pequot Library and Fairfield University first collaborated on a series of programs in conjunction with the University's Open VISIONS Forum celebrating the nation's best writers. Consisting of lectures, roundtable discussions and films, these programs were highlighted by visits to Fairfield by John Irving, Isabel Allende, Joan Didion and now Vidal.

Dan Snydacker, executive director of Pequot Library, said, "This collaboration between two of the finest cultural institutions in the region is a natural. The collaboration will extend the audience of both and increase awareness of their wonderful programs throughout the community." For information regarding a reception honoring Vidal, and all the other Pequot programs, contact Pequot Library at (203) 259-0346.

Throughout his years as a writer of novels, plays, essays and screenplays, Vidal has remained an important, often quoted and sometimes controversial figure. His frank and wry observations of the American landscape have focused on an eclectic range of subjects: politics, power, pop culture, sexual identity, gender, history and society.

A self-described realist, he has never been afraid to criticize men in power, illuminate hypocrisy and de-construct long-held social mores. His take on the United States pulls no punches: "It is a pointless empire, which gives a satirist like me great pleasure, the fact that nothing makes any sense." He is also a man comfortable in his own skin, one who once said, "Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn."

Vidal was born Eugene Luther Gore Vidal in West Point, N.Y. in 1925. His father, Eugene Luther Vidal, worked for the Roosevelt administration. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy. When he was 21, he began his writing career with the novel, "Williwaw." Several years later, his ground-breaking novel, "The City and the Pillar," centering on a gay man, was published and caused an uproar.

His novels also include "Julian," "Washington, D.C.," and "Myra Breckinridge," all published in the 1960s and successes. The latter was made into a popular film.

Also among Vidal's great works are "Burr," "Myron," "1876," "Kalki," "Lincoln," "Empire," and "Palimpsest." He won the National Book Award in 1993 for "United States: essays 1952-1992." He recently published an autobiographical account of his life titled, "Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir."

His self-described "pamphlets" include "Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta," and "Imperial America; Reflections on the United States of Amnesia." Another pamphlet, "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace or How We Came To Be So Hated," will be discussed by Fairfield Warde High School students in a round-table discussion at the Pequot Library on March 20th. The students and their teachers will be guests of Pequot Library and Fairfield University for Vidal's lecture and will get a chance to meet with Vidal and have books signed by him.

His screenwriting efforts include the Emmy Award-winning mini-series, "Lincoln," exploring Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. It will be shown on Monday, March 19th at 7:00 p.m. at the Pequot Library. The second half of the program will be shown the following Monday, March 26th.

Vidal has even acted in films, such as "Igby Goes Down" and "Bob Roberts."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 12, 2007