Over the course of his long career, Gore Vidal produced works in multiple genres: the essay, the screenplay, the novel. His fictional output is most often associated with his massive chronicle of American history, Narratives of Empire. Vidal claimed a pedagogical purpose, seeking to remedy American ignorance of the past. However, Vidal's practice suggests a deep awareness of the limitations of the genre. His late‐career novel Live from Golgotha (1992) faces the limitations of historical fiction directly. Reading this novel alongside Linda Hutcheon's concept of “historiographical metafiction,” this article analyzes Vidal's own grappling with the ironies latent in his own project. Golgotha delights in sudden narrative shifts and tonal dissonance. And yet, the novel demonstrates a deep awareness of its setting and attempts to make that setting legible to readers. Live from Golgotha is, thus, a late‐career synthesis in which Vidal parodies his own work as a historical novelist, thereby exposing the limitations of the form and its relationship to history.

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