Eugene Louis "Gore" Vidal was an American writer and public intellectual known for his patrician manner, epigrammatic wit, and polished style of writing.
He was born to a political family; his maternal grandfather, Thomas Pryor Gore, served as United States senator from Oklahoma . He was a Democratic Party politician who twice sought elected office; first to the United States House of Representatives , then to the U.S. Senate .
As a political commentator and essayist, Vidal's principal subject was the history of the United States and its society, especially how the militaristic foreign policy reduced the country to a decadent empire. His political and cultural essays were published in The Nation, the New Statesman, the New York Review of Books, and Esquire magazines. As a public intellectual, Gore Vidal's topical debates on sex, politics, and religion with other intellectuals and writers occasionally turned into quarrels with the likes of William F. Buckley Jr. and Norman Mailer. As such, and because he thought all men and women are potentially bisexual, Vidal rejected the adjectives "homosexual" and "heterosexual" when used as nouns, as inherently false terms used to classify and control people in society.
As a novelist Vidal explored the nature of corruption in public and private life. His polished and erudite style of narration readily evoked the time and place of his stories, and perceptively delineated the psychology of his characters. His third novel, The City and the Pillar , offended the literary, political, and moral sensibilities of conservative book reviewers, with a dispassionately presented male homosexual relationship. In the historical novel genre, Vidal re-created in Julian the imperial world of Julian the Apostate , the Roman emperor who used general religious toleration to re-establish pagan polytheism to counter the political subversion of Christian monotheism. In the genre of social satire, Myra Breckinridge explores the mutability of gender role and sexual orientation as being social constructs established by social mores. In Burr and Lincoln , the protagonist is presented as "A Man of the People" and as "A Man" in a narrative exploration of how the public and private facets of personality affect the national politics of the U.S.