Books: Shotgun Satire

DULUTH

by Gore Vidal

Random House; 214 pages; $13.95

Gore Vidal's novels, plays and essays can be divided roughly into three areas of animosity. The first is the author's belief that Western civilization erred when it abandoned pagan humanism for the stern, heterosexual authority of the Judaeo-Christian patriarchy. See Julian, his 1964 novel about the apostate nephew of Constantino the Great. The second area that draws Vidal's scorn is American politics, which he dramatizes as a circus of opportunism and hypocrisy. See The Best Man; Washington, D.C.; Burr. The most freewheeling disdain is directed...

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