In January 1948 Dutton brought out the third novel of a promising young writer named Gore Vidal. The publishing house was nervous. Vidal had already reached a national audience with his first book,Williwaw, based on his experience in World War II, and the year before had been photographed for Lifemagazine in a feature on young writers. At the mere age of 21, he had made a name for himself, and Dutton wanted to preserve it. The cause of their queasy stomachs lay in the fact that the book they were releasing, The City and the Pillar, was at the time arguably the most explicit and uncompromising novel about homosexuality ever to be published in the English-speaking world.
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