The Mandarin and the Hipster

An examination of authors Gore Vidal and Terry Southern’s literary erotica:

“Gore Vidal was a friend and admirer of Terry Southern, calling him ‘the most profoundly witty writer of our generation’ and he could not have failed to have had the example of Candy in mind as he embarked on his own adventure in black-humored sexual satire, Myra Breckinridge. Like Candy, the book had its inception in a high-porn enterprise: Kenneth Tynan had asked Vidal to contribute a sketch to his planned erotic review Oh Calcutta! But as soon as he set to work, the mysterious sentence ‘I am Myra Breckinridge whom no man will ever possess’ sprang to mind and Vidal knew he was heading somewhere else entirely. The book became an outrageous theater of polymorphous perversity, a heady cocktail of Aristophanes, Marcuse, and Nietzsche married to an encyclopedic knowledge of the American cinema of the thirties and forties.”

Source: Tin House
Published: Apr 1, 2003
Length: 8 minutes (2,188 words)