Magazine December 7, 2015, Issue

Not Enough to Succeed

Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal, by Jay Parini (Doubleday, 480 pp., $35)

The clock is finally running out on Gore Vidal. He got lucky (if you want to call it that) when Best of Enemies, a documentary about his televised skirmishes with William F. Buckley Jr., was released a few months before the publication of Jay Parini’s Empire of Self, the second full-length biography of the author of . . . what? Myra Breckinridge? Live from Golgotha? Scarcely anyone now reads or remembers any of Vidal’s novels, nor were they well thought of in his lifetime, a fact of which he was well aware, having read the innumerable reviews that declared him

To Read the Full Story
Terry TeachoutMr. Teachout is the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal and the critic-at-large of Commentary. Satchmo at the Waldorf, his 2011 play about Louis Armstrong, has been produced off Broadway and throughout America.

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

The Islamic War

The historian Thucydides felt that democracies were characteristically volatile and yet complacent when existential dangers loomed on the horizon. But once faced with impending doom — such as the near ...


Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Holding Up a Mirror

People know 18th-century London more from Hogarth’s drawings than from the work of any novelist. Indeed, the titles of his best-known picture series — “A Rake’s Progress” and “Gin Lane” ...


Politics & Policy


Where Have You Gone, Yogi Berra? I take issue with the editors’ comment that “Berra’s personal career statistics — batting  average, home runs, wins above replacement value — were strong but ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ In light of the unspeakable horrors they have suffered, please take a moment today to pray for the victims and survivors of Yale. ‐ Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio ...

War and Imagination

After the Charlie Hebdo attack, it seemed as if French grief followed the Western model set in place after the death of Princess Di. Emotional prostration. Candlelight vigils. Heaps of ...
Politics & Policy


FIREFLIES After sundown you see the first Out of the corner of your eye, then another In the middle distance, the gloaming, Where a grove of maples conspires, Darkly thinking night-thoughts While these inklings of light ...
Happy Warrior

Liberalism Besieged

Here’s a historical bullet that I’ll happily bite: The “miracle” of the American founding was as much about tribal affinity and aligned incentives as it was about any higher notions ...


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