- They had once been romantically involved.
- They were both sworn enemies of Gore Vidal.
- They were related by marriage.
- Like Norman Mailer, the Duchess, too, had won a Pulitzer Prize.
In a back-handed compliment (front-handed insult?), Gore Vidal once wrote that Norman Mailer’s “faults, though many, add to rather than subtract from the sum of his natural achievements.” His diametrical opposite was Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, whose faults ultimately got the better of her. He was a New Journalism writer based in New York. She was an old-school socialite based in London. Seemingly, they had nothing in common, but there was a link between them. What was it?
“I’m working on a novel and it’s acting like most such creatures—insists on being a wife. You poets don’t know how lucky you are with your one-night stands.”
Norman Mailer, Hockney’s Alphabet
Gore Vidal's copy of Hockney's Alphabet, in which Vidal was one of the participants, is available for purchase via the Nick Harvill Libraries store.
Image Credit: Snapshots in History's Glare