OutHistory has posted two decades of letters from Gore Vidal to historian Jonathan Ned Katz, from 1982 to 2001. A sample from 1983:
Dear Mr. Katz,
Surely, I wrote you about yr. book [Gay/Lesbian Almanac] which I thought splendid. The very words – or signs, as they say now – like “sterile” [used about homosexuality in the early-20th-century] – You should study the reviews of Duluth for new insights – I am not just disliked but deeply hated --
I thought the Baldwin ’49 piece brilliant; I never knew it existed, which explains Jimmy’s nervousness with me at the time – “his panic” is an excellent description of a state of mind which my characters [The City and the Pillar], perhaps, shared though the author not. But I was a realist back then – if you succeed in driving a stake through those false nouns ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual,’ statues will be built in yr. honor – or perhaps just a large stake to burn you at.
Letters from 1988, 1989, and 2001 discuss the romantic relationship of Abe Lincoln and Joshua Speed, which Katz covers in his book Love Stories: Sex between Men before Homosexuality.
Gore was very young when he wrote The City and the Pillar and his older self delighted to discover several pages of entries in Thomas Mann's diary, in German, on that novel. Mann thought it was great and was inspired by it. James Baldwin's reaction to the novel's ending was less welcomed. Gore told Katz: "Jimmy and I were great friends. Jimmy thought of himself as a combination of Martin Luther King and Bette Davis. But he's wrong [in "Preservation of Innocence"] about the end of the The City and the Pillar. The murder is not because of homosexual panic, but it's the normal end of romantic obsession."