Creation (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
Gore Vidal’s Creation begins on the evening of what would be, according to modern reckoning, December 20, 445 B.C., when, in a Greek villa in Athens, Democritus of Abdera takes dictation from the blind Persian ambassador. Cyrus Spitama, grandson of Zoroaster, at Democritus’s urging has begun to recount the events of his life, and the reader becomes a witness to his fabulous tale, one that carries its intriguing narrator across most of the known world and through magnificent courts in Persia, India, Cathay, and the eastern Mediterranean.
Once again, Vidal has concocted historical fiction delivered from the tongue of a thoroughly engaging narrator, whose wit and insight sparkle on every page. Once again, Vidal offers a penetrating look at a historical period, penetrating because his fiction challenges his readers’ presuppositions. Instead of the traditional Greek view of fourth century events, Vidal presents the Persian interpretation. Like Vidal’s American trilogy (Burr, 1973; Washington, D.C., 1967; and 1876, 1976), where illusions about nineteenth century American democracy are routinely punctured, Creation sets about smashing the icons of Western civilization’s seemingly noble Greek heritage.
Spitama, consistently derogatory toward the Greeks, cites their eternal squabbling, backbiting, and...
(The entire section is 1610 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
America. CXLIV, May 23, 1981, p. 429.
Christian Science Monitor. LXXIII, April 13, 1981, p. B2.
Library Journal. CVI, March 15, 1981, p. 683.
The New York Review of Books. XXVIII, May 14, 1981, p. 29.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVI, March 29, 1981, p. 1.
The New Yorker. LVII, April 20, 1981, p. 152.
Newsweek. XCVII, April 20, 1981, p. 92.
Time. CXVII, March 30, 1981, p. 83.
Times Literary Supplement. May 29, 1981, p. 595.
The Wall Street Journal. CXCVII, March 23, 1981, p. 22.
(The entire section is 60 words.)