Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Hollywood. Southern California city and capital of the American movie industry that to Myra is important as the place where the “classic” movies of the 1930’s and 1940’s were made. To her, Hollywood is the source of all the century’s legends. However, by the late 1960’s—when this story takes place—Hollywood has turned to low-budget movies in order to compete with television and has lost much of the magic Myra associates with it. Along with Hollywood’s legendary cachet, Myra looks for, and expects to find there, her inheritance from a relative. To her surprise, she actually does find the kind of “true” love she so enjoys seeing in movies.

Academy of Dramatic Arts

Academy of Dramatic Arts. Acting school belonging to Myra’s “Uncle” Buck Loner, located on about fifty acres of a Westwood residential property, half of which has been bequeathed to Myra’s dead husband, Myron. The academy is a place where young hopefuls go to learn about acting with the expectation that they will get jobs in movies and even become stars. Myra sees the school as a place that will give her financial security after her husband’s mother’s will has been properly executed. After she has had a chance to examine the school, it becomes even more significant as a place where she can avenge herself on “men” for the abuses her husband suffered. Buck reaps an excellent income from the academy and is loathe to give even a small share of it to Myra, who believes the school may be worth millions. Activities at the school proceed with little or no disruption, even as Myra does everything in her power to interfere with the lives of two students, Mary-Ann Pringle...

(The entire section is 701 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Myra Breckinridge uses alternating first-person narrators (one as if transcribed from unedited tape recordings) to provide its expose...

(The entire section is 74 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Henry James's experiments with multiple narrators in works like The Princess Casamassima (1886) and The Golden Bowl (1904) are...

(The entire section is 208 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

In Myron (1974), the theme that all power is sexual power is carried even further than it is in Myra Breckinridge as Myra shows...

(The entire section is 224 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Michael Same directed a movie version of Myra Breckinridge that was released in 1970. Negatively reviewed by the critics, it was not...

(The entire section is 281 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Dick, Bernard F. The Apostate Angel: A Critical Study of Gore Vidal. New York: Random House, 1974. A balanced critical assessment of Vidal’s major works, including Myra Breckinridge.

Kiernan, Robert F. Gore Vidal. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1982. A biographical approach to a discussion of Vidal’s works, including Myra Breckinridge.

Stanton, Robert J. Gore Vidal: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1978. An excellent source for Vidal’s primary texts and a superb compilation of secondary sources for his works, including Myra Breckinridge.

Summers, Claude J. Gay Fictions: Wilde to Stonewall. New York: Continuum, 1990. Includes one chapter devoted to Vidal. Discusses primarily The City and the Pillar, but refers to the themes in Myra Breckinridge with deft understanding.

White, Ray L. Gore Vidal. New York: Twayne, 1968. A basic introduction to the life and work of Vidal. Includes a discussion of Myra Breckinridge.