Thirteen years later, in an interview for The Paris Review, Gerald Clarke asked Gore Vidal about the influence of Hemingway:
CLARKE: You came out of the Second World War. What do you think of the writers of the previous generation — Hemingway, for example?
GORE VIDAL: I detest him, but I was certainly under his spell when I was very young, as we all were. I thought his prose was perfect — until I read Stephen Crane and realized where he got it from. Yet Hemingway is still the master self-publicist, if Capote will forgive me. Hemingway managed to convince everybody that before Hemingway everyone wrote like — who? — Gene Stratton-Porter. But not only was there Mark Twain before him, there was also Stephen Crane, who did everything that Hemingway did and rather better. Certainly The Red Badge of Courage is superior to A Farewell to Arms. But Hemingway did put together an hypnotic style whose rhythm haunted other writers. I liked some of the travel things — Green Hills of Africa. But he never wrote a good novel. I suppose, finally, the thing I most detest in him is the spontaneity of his cruelty. The way he treated Fitzgerald, described in A Moveable Feast. The way he condescended to Ford Madox Ford, one of the best novelists in our language.
- Jul. 2, 2011