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Hollywood (1990)

di Gore Vidal

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
747922,578 (3.51)15
Follows the career of Caroline Sanford, a brilliant and beautiful newspaper publisher who leaves Washington to become a Hollywood producer and movie star.
Aggiunto di recente daHenrySt123, JohnCraig73, Eschoir, weird_O, LostWordsBooks, jordanr2, SantosChurch, chrisvia, DarrylRRC
Biblioteche di personaggi celebriNorman Mailer
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In this, the fifth of Vidal’s Narratives of Empire series, the author explores the impact of World War I and its aftermath on the fabric of the American nation. This is the era when the U.S. came into its “century” and immediately pulled back from the implications. Vidal aficianados will recognize much here: the naked ambition and pervasive corruption of public life, and the ease with which Americans accept assaults on First Amendment guarantees and allow their passions to be stirred against the wicked (first, the “Huns”, then the Bolsheviks).
Continuing the pattern of earlier novels, Vidal interweaves the fortunes of two fictional families (in part putative descendants of Aaron Burr), the Sanfords and the Days, with a cast of historical characters. For these, Vidal offers his usual mix of insightful portraits and juicy gossip in a manner reminiscent of his literary heroes, the two Henrys, James and Adams. Along the way, there are some convincing insights, such as the way Woodrow Wilson’s childhood in the Reconstruction-era South may have given him foresight into the effect victor’s justice would have on Germany and led to his call for peace without victory. Vidal’s portrait of Harding is surprisingly sympathetic, reminiscent of his treatment of Grant in the earlier novel 1876, who presided over an earlier corrupt administration. And it was uncanny, given that I read this in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign, how well Vidal portrays media boss William Randolph Hearst in Trumpian tones.
The title might surprise some, since much of the novel takes place in Washington, D.C., but Vidal skillfully makes the point that a new power center arose at that time, ending his tale with events on both coasts that eerily parallel each other.
Since I want to be sparse in awarding five stars, I’ll reluctantly withhold one from this to indicate that if one were to read only one from this series, it should be Lincoln. Or maybe Burr. Or … At any rate, this is a very good read. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
> 535 pages quand même. Un pavé du calibre de "Belle du seigneur", d'Albert Cohen, plein d'intelligence et de lucidité sur ce qu'allait devenir l'Amérique au sortir de la Guerre 14 – 18 (en même temps, il l'a écrit en 1989!) mais surtout – ainsi que le suggère le titre, "Hollywood" - l'influence qu'allait représenter la montée en puissance du cinéma (Gore Vidal ne parle pas encore de télévision qui, à l'instar d'une bombe à fragmentations, démultiplie encore le problème) sur la manipulation et la fabrication de l'opinion publique – au moins américaine. --Danieljean (Babelio)

> Citations et Extraits (Babelio) : https://www.babelio.com/livres/Vidal-Hollywood/90049#citations ( )
  Joop-le-philosophe | Feb 20, 2021 |
I read this for research, and while I did find some relevant material, this was not a particularly enjoyable read. First of all, very little of the book is actually in or about Hollywood; it's centered in Washington, D.C. on political shenanigans. The cover quote also says it's a novel about the 1920s, while in fact 3/4 of the book takes places in the late teens, depicting America entering the Great War and the developments around that.

This is very much a literary fiction novel with lots and lots of talking, virtually no action, and sexual escapades all around, though nothing graphic. The cast is wide and I found it difficult to track who was who because there was a constant barrage of new names. The actual depictions of history is fantastic, though. Vidal captures the sense of the time with fine details and everything is well-paced. Characters are well-done, too, and quite strong through dialogue alone. While this was definitely not my sort of book, I can see why Gore Vidal was such a big name in the field. ( )
  ladycato | Jun 12, 2018 |
As the subtitle indicates, this novel is not entirely about Hollywood; a good deal of the book deals with the later years of the Wilson Administration and then on into the Harding Administration and Harding's death.

For anyone who doesn't know Vidal's politics, he was anti-imperialist and anti-interventionist, so much so that today he's rather popular among some antiwar libertarians as well as Old Right anti-interventionist paleocons. He doesn't portray Wilson in all that favorable a light – Wilson is well-meaning but an academic who is sometimes quite inept politically and rather dictatorially inclined.

On the other hand, Vidal portrays Harding in a much better light than Harding has been accorded by traditional historians. What a lot of people forget is that Harding commuted the sentence of the Socialist Eugene Debs, freeing him after he'd been sentenced to ten years for sedition during the Wilson Administration. In fact, as to his treatment of Debs, Harding – "back to normalcy" – comes off somewhat like Jimmy Carter in his pardon of the Vietnam era draft resisters. (Hollywood was published in 1990, so Carter very well would have been in Vidal's mind, but Vidal doesn't preach – he presents what is in appearance an objective history.)

Vidal's assessment of Harding? After Harding's death, Senator Thomas Gore thought that Harding was probably well out of it. "He was much too nice a man for the presidency."

Note that Senator Thomas Gore was Gore Vidal 's maternal grandfather, so Vidal is here doubtless using the senator as the author's own voice. And Vidal gives Harding credit for the 1921-22 Washington Naval (Disarmament) Conference, portraying Harding as politically much more skillful than Wilson in accomplishing his ends.

So much for the history. The novel itself derives its title, Hollywood, from the fictional Caroline Sanford's involvement in the motion picture industry, as a producer and also as screen star under the name "Emma Traxler"; and such real-life characters as Will Hays, Elinor Glyn (a Virago author), and many others make significant appearances. Caroline, who is the leading fictional character of the later volumes of the Narratives of Empire series, has figured promimently in Empire and will appear as an older woman in The Golden Age. In particular, it's Caroline's presence – along with other fictional characters, notably her half-brother Blaise Sanford – that lifts Hollywood from a rather pedestrian (vide Vidal's Lincoln) semi-fictionalized history to a 4½**** novel. ( )
  CurrerBell | Feb 28, 2018 |
This is probably less confusing if you have read the other books in the series. The cover of my copy says 'Hollywood : a novel of America in the 1920s' and doesn't mention a series. I find myself struggling through political machinations of Washington DC in 1917. This is not at all what I was led to expect. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Jun 20, 2016 |
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Slowly, William Randolph Hearst lowered his vast bear-like body into a handsome Biedermeier chair, all scrolls and lyres and marquetry.
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Caroline suddenly realized that she - and everyone else - had been approaching this new game from the wrong direction. Movies were not there simply to reflect life or tell stories but to exist in their own autonomous way and to look, as it were, back at those who made them and watched them. They had used the movies successfully to demonize national enemies. Now why not use them to alter the viewer's perception of himself and the world?
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Follows the career of Caroline Sanford, a brilliant and beautiful newspaper publisher who leaves Washington to become a Hollywood producer and movie star.

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