First edition, first printing of the author’s first book. The dedication copy signed by Vidal on the title page and inscribed simply beneath the printed dedication the Vidal’s mother, “[For Nina] all my love -“. That Gore Vidal’s life brimmed to the extent that it did with enduring female friendships – among his closest confidantes were Joanne Woodward, Susan Sarandon, and Joan Collins – harshly underscores the troubled relationship the author had with his mother. Judy Balaban, another lifelong friend of Vidal’s, describes Nina Gore Vidal as a “glamorous, well-positioned, relentlessly self-absorbed and mean-spirited alcoholic” who “harbored hostile feelings about writers and homosexuals.” “Still,” Balaban observes, “it was impossible to talk with Gore about people who had mattered to him without wondering if the worst person in the world was not in some way responsible for the nature of his closest friendships.” Vidal’s next novel The City and the Pillar (1948) skyrocketed him to fame, partially thanks to the boldness with which he described homosexual love affairs. He saw his mother for the last time in 1957, when he invited her to stay with him and his partner, Howard Austen, while they were living in London. Though Nina swore that she had quit drinking, her alcoholism was in fact so rampant (and her personality so belligerent) that members of the household staff quit. Gore ultimately asked her to leave and told her he never wanted to see her again. She died in 1978.
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Octavo. Original black cloth, titles to spine and upper board in blue, black top-stain. With the dust jacket. Lightly rubbed at extremities, endpapers unevenly tanned. An excellent copy in the dust jacket.