Gore Vidal

Sunday 18 May 2008 10:45pm – 11:45pm

Melvyn Bragg meets with Gore Vidal in Los Angeles, where he has recently returned to live to “do the Hollywood version of happiness”.

Gore Vidal is the last survivor of the great post-war generation of American novelists that included Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller and Saul Bellow. At 82, he is still one of the finest essayists on socio-political, sexual, historical and literary themes – a true literary radical and polymath.

This is a classic South Bank Show: Melvyn Bragg enjoys a wide and varied conversation, full of friendly banter, with a man famous for his wit and intellect. Gore Vidal is well known for his trenchant views about American politics and this South Bank Show is no exception. He describes President Bush as a “midget….who wants Armageddon to happen as quickly possible…….perpetual war for perpetual peace”.

Vidal discusses his life, family, politics, lies, religion, education and his work: novels, essays and memoirs.

Melvyn Bragg last interviewed Gore Vidal some twenty years ago, when he lived in voluntary exile in Italy, from where he cast a sceptical eye on what he calls “freedom’s land”. Archive footage from this South Bank Show illustrates his life and times there. Gore Vidal also reads extracts from his most recent memoirs.

A meeting and exchange of thoughts makes this an uncompromising and poignant South Bank Show.

Presented and edited by Melvyn Bragg.
Produced and directed by David Thomas.

About the author

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