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conversion to the New English Right. berating his native Scotland in Murdoch‘s Sunday Times for its electoral execution on Thatcher - where was its spirit ofadventure‘.’ It is as though Peter Pan should move with the times to cry ‘To starve would be an awfully big adventure!‘

, . , , _ Gore Vidal has. ifanything.

This month authors Gore Vidal and Allan Massne meet on stage in Edinburgh. deepened and strengthened his

Historian and writer Owen Dudley Edwards considers the heritages present in that detestation 0f the New American Right. as mav be seen from his latest

rare encounter. , . . .

_ volume of essays. Armageddon .’.

' " . I Allan Massie. profoundly learned in :' / the varieties ofcultural heritage from Roman imperiate to Edinburgh homicide. no doubt sees a further hope for our custody of the past in British neo-conservatism. Gore Vidal has. above all. insisted that American neo-conservatism has no relation to the past. that Ronald Reagan is dedicated to returning his people to an America that never existed ‘outside of the back lot on Warner Brothers’. and that the archpriest ofthe Neo-Rightists. Norman Podhorctz. is less a guardian of American values than a self-appointed Israeli lobbyist. For this last Vidal has been called anti-Semitic. which is as justifiable as calling a critic of the late Senator Joe McCarthy anti-Irish. ; g. 1,. g _ . _ I Yet politics is. at best. a cultural * A I - -, '7: ' Iii, " a I " i _; - caricature. Indeed. both men Allan

' Massie in his subtle and

compassionate Italian novels The Death of Men and A ugustus. Gore Vidal in his seminal American historical novels. Burr. 1876 and Lincoln ~ have succeeded in transforming the squalor of politics into a form of poetry. no less rich for all their sinewy mastery of the ludicrous. the devious and the self-destructive. Neither writer leaves their reader at much ofa loss as to their awareness of themselves. Massie‘s Augustus begins with a little frivolity in alleged academic critique ofthe ensuing pages‘ achievement. and Vidal's Empire presents the historian Henry Adams in pursuit of the supposed memoirs of Aaron

1 \: >3:

On 20 November Edin

burgh will ground with the author of Doctor Empire. to recall his memory of Burl WhiCh WCI’C S9 engagingly. receive Gore Vidal. We are Jekyll and Mr Hyde. For Robert Henry James's ambiguities about and '"dCCd C0""'“¢'“81Y~ forged b)’_ honoured by his presence here; and Louis Stevenson surely did for marmalade. And we may venture to . V‘dal 35' Pan» though only Piirl~0fh15 so is he. To a historical novelist this is Calvinism what Vidal did for sex. by suggest that. in default of their three Bur" . , above all the city which nurtured scientifically moving the subject of selves, the great men would salute in . sown, 1“ PEHUC‘U'M‘ Offers?“ Walter Scott in the establishment of his artistic experiment between the Allan Massie, the artist most '"S'Sh‘ 0" “dd 5 Sense Of hlstor)’ - In his craft, and gave him plurality of divided Manichean propensities to appropriate to embody in interview Politics he Was marl)“ thS’UEh “0‘. religious and political conflicting good and evil, where Vidal moved with Gore Vidal the literary genius qynte, the “EMS! OITWIC§~ making attitudes whence to draw his his between the divided genders. We of the precipitous city. h'5 '35! {WNW appearance "1 material. We may allow that the may trust that the shade of Compton There is‘ certainly, material for Opposmon t0 the Reform Bills of author of Myra Breckinbridge and Mackenzie, complimenting his city's cultural division between them. 1839'1832(Wh10h Allan M355“? may Myron, now happily under one latest literary guest, would be Allan Massie has recently dismayed Yet find himself 3'50 hfmng ‘0 cover, should rejoice in common inspired by Vidal‘s latest work, many of his admirers by his OPPOse 1f the POll'tax '5 {wowed by

The List 13 26 November 1987 47