The City and the Pillar

The 1948 New York Times review of The City and the Pillar

The City and the Pillar sparked a public scandal, including notoriety and criticism, not only since it was released at a time when homosexuality was commonly considered immoral, but also because it was the first book by an accepted American author to portray overt homosexuality as a natural behavior. The controversial reception began before the novel hit bookshelves. Prior to its even being published, an editor at EP Dutton said to Vidal, “You will never be forgiven for this book. Twenty years from now you will still be attacked for it.”

The City and the Pillar is the third published novel by American writer Gore Vidal, written in 1946 and published on January 10, 1948. The story is about a young man who is coming of age and discovers his own homosexuality

The City and the Pillar is significant because it is recognized as the first post-World War II novel whose gay protagonist is portrayed in a sympathetic manner and is not killed off at the end of the story for defying social norms.

The City and the Pillar, 1948, New York Times Review


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