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United States: Essays 1952-1992 Chapter Summary & Analysis - "Literary Gangsters" (1970) Summary

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"Literary Gangsters" (1970) Summary and Analysis

Who is a literary gangster and why should we care? Cut to the chase: literary gangsters are, as Vidal explains, "hit-and-run journalists without conscience, forced to live precariously by their wits [that] are increasingly strained nowadays because there are fewer places to publish than there used to be, which means a lot more edgy hoods hanging around the playgrounds of the West Side."

Who exactly, though, is Vidal taking about? Anyone who has grasped the reality that Americans would rather read about writers as personalities than read their books would rather absorb strong opinions delivered vociferously regardless of factual foundations, and who exploits those facts to further his or her literary career, that's who. The reader senses both Vidal's irritation with this ilk of literary opportunist, but is grateful for his ability to describe it so clearly...

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This section contains 450 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our United States: Essays 1952-1992 Study Guide
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United States: Essays 1952-1992 from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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