Nonfiction Around the World

Italy, 2001
Spain, 2001
Serbia, 1999
Brazil, 1990
Italy, 1974

When Vidal wrote a piece on the Sept. 11 World Trade Center bombing for Vanity Fair, and when Vanity Fair declined to publish it, he instead published La fine della libertÓ: Verso un nuovo totalitarismo? in Italy (above left). Chapter 1 is the Vanity Fair essay, and the other three chapters are previously published essays in which Vidal discusses the loss of civil liberties in America. The title means "the end of liberty: toward a new totalitarianism." It was the first of many translations of his Sept. 11 writing into numerous foreign languages (for example, the Arabic translation of Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace below). The small Cleis Press, in 1999, published Sexually Speaking, a collection of Vidal's essays on sex and sexuality. This Spanish edition, pictured above, clearly caught the gist of the collection with its provocative cover. A Serbian edition of The Decline and Fall of the American Empire shows images of Americana over an image of a wristwatch, suggesting that time may be running out for America. A Brazilian volume of 20 essay takes its name from one of the pieces in the collection, "Why I Do What I Do If Not Why," and features little caricature figures relating to Americana. An Italian essay collection, whose title means "the people of Watergate," shows a telephone, presumably like the ones at Democratic National Headquarters that were bugged by the people of CREEP (the Committee to Re-Elect the President) during the Watergate affair.

Germany, 2003
Hungary, 1984
Italy, 2003
Lebanon, 2004
Turkey, 2005

Vidal's nonfiction has been more popular in Italy than anywhere else in the world, perhaps because he has lived there for so long. A 2003 essay collection published in Italy has a dapper Vidal falling off the right edge of the cover. Below left is an Italian collection of essays issued under the title "The End of the Empire," featuring a sculpture of a cigarette butt on its cover, and beginning with an essay by the book's translator that calls Vidal "one window on America." Vidal's little memoir Screening History became the Italian "Remotely on This Screen." The cover - with its layers of imagery - shows Vidal seated in a movie theater, while on the screen behind him is a scene from the TV movie Gore Vidal's Billy the Kid in which Vidal can be seen in costume as a preacher (it was a cameo role). The German edition of this book (center row above, at left) features a photo of Vidal's father in front of an airplane, and it's been retitled "America's Dream of Flight." Vidal's Views from a Window: Conversations with Gore Vidal is an ingenious little book that collects material from many Vidal essays and puts them together by topic in a sort of running dialogue with multiple interviewers. The French retitled the book "Artists and Barbarians," while the Spanish simply called it "Conversations with Gore Vidal." Finally, in 2002, an academic publisher issued the essay collection The Last Empire in a Spanish edition that included Vidal's highly controversial essay on the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. There also is a Turkish edition of the book (above), the first publication of Vidal's essays in Turkey, where his novels are often translated.

Italy, 1992
Italy, 1993
France, 1985
Spain, 1983
Spain, 2002

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