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Myra Breckinridge/Myron (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – August 1, 1997

28 customer reviews

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Paperback, August 1, 1997
$38.39 $6.93
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Editorial Reviews


Falling somewhere between the realms of Henry Adams and all of Monty Python, Gore Vidal has for many years served as America's own Tiesias - a seer and scourge, as well as an entertainer of the highest order. Jay McInerney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Gore Vidal wrote his first novel, Williwaw at the age of nineteen while overseas in World War II. Since then he has written plays, short stories, essays, films and television scripts and has been a Democratic activist. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics
  • Paperback: 417 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141180285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141180281
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #689,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gore Vidal has received the National Book Award, written numerous novels, short stories, plays and essays. He has been a political activist and as Democratic candidate for Congress from upstate New York, he received the most votes of any Democrat in a half-century.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Itamar Ronen on February 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
It's wonderful to go through the various reviews and realize that this book, written in part in 1968 and then, the "sequel", in 1973, stirrs the same controversy it did when it was published. And I'm sure Gore Vidal, one of the most remarkable American writers and thinkers of the previous century, is having a great deal of fun out of it. In a way (and not in every way), Gore Vidal is a great writer/thinker resembling the way Voltaire was one: it's not necessarily any specific work that makes him *the* thinker/writer of his age (well, in the case of Voltaire, "Candide" does weaken my argument...), but it is his combined output that makes him the unabashed, non-PC voice of his generation. And Gore Vidal does it with great panache in Myra Breckinridge/Myron. There are few issues that remained untouched - anything from linguistic deterioration (the Californian drowning in the ocean yelling : "like, Help!"), film theory, sexuality, politics (Nixon is an important protagonist), what not. And mud is slung in all dierctions, and the goal justifies any means... It is hilarious from beginning to end, and even if one is not familiar with the dozens of B-movies and their actors mentioned in the book, and allowing for some repetitiveness here and there - reading this book is a wicked joy. A previous review rightly mentions that this book is not for everyone: the sexual and surgical activity (sometimes combined) are very explicit, and Myra has on her agenda young and healthy all-American dudes to be anally penetrated (for some very good reasons, as we learn...), but if you wish to make sure that there's still someone looking at this world with X-ray glasses - read Gore Vidal, and read Myra/Myron.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By gac1003 on February 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
MYRA BRECKINRIDGE moves to Hollywood in order to collect the inheritance left by her husband Myron. The one problem is Uncle Buck Loner who stands between her and the property - a profitable school for would be actors run by Buck. Myra is certain that everything will turn out her way, as she is the New American Woman. Every man wants her, but none may have her. However, there is a twist to Myra that will throw her plans into turmoil if anyone finds out.

This is a darkly comic book with one of the most intriguing of characters in Myra Breckinridge. She is self-confidant (perhaps overly so), knows how to control and manipulate both men and women to fulfill her wishes, and determined not to let anything stop her. She is ready to change the world to suit her. In other words, a force to be reckoned with. I also liked that she patterned herself after movie heroines and relates to people as though they were characters in a movie, shown for her benefit.

The novel itself is written as a series of diary entries, written by Myra as events happen. This gives an immediacy to the story and makes the reader feel as though he/she is a part of the action. The twist in the story is definitely a shocking one; I admit that it threw me for a loop. I can only imagine its impact when the book was published in 1968 with the sexual revolution just underway. An incredible book.

MYRON: This sequel to "Myra Breckinridge" follows poor Myron as he battles against Myra, only this time they've somehow become stuck in the 1948 movie "Siren of Babylon." It's a strange world, the Hollywood of 1948, and Myron tries frantically to return to 1973 and his beloved Richard M.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By The Wingchair Critic on December 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
The fact that Gore Vidal's highly original 'Myra Breckinridge' (1968) and its sequel, 'Myron' (1974), have been published together in one edition by Penguin Books strongly suggests that the novels are in the process of becoming accepted as part of the canon of American Literature. This is extraordinary, since 'Myra Breckinridge' is a genuinely radical and subversive novel that strikes forcibly at the very heart of traditional American values, particularly at the country's conservative sexual mores, though most readers seem to miss the 'unacceptable truth' that the book shrewdly exposes. Interestingly, the disastrous film version of 1970, presently in constant rotation on multiple cable channels, made the same point more clearly, a fact that was perhaps largely responsible for its critical and box office failure.

On the basis of its tone alone, 'Myra Breckinridge' may be difficult for many readers to read comfortably, which was doubtlessly Vidal's intention. Told in first person through a series of journal entries, Myra's often hilarious commentary is a litany of keen perception, self-hatred, sniping mania, arrogant sarcasm, brittle irony, continuous domineering combativeness, and camp-laden neurosis.

Cultural critic Camille Paglia has championed the novel, and as critic Reed Woodhouse has suggested, Myra's voice is often comparable to Paglia at her acerbic, devil-may-care, 'the truth must out' best. As Paglia would also begin to do with the publication of 'Sexual Personae' in 1991, 'Myra Breckinridge' is additionally a scathing attack on the then-untouchable decorous High WASP values and social mores of the first half of the Twentieth Century.
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