Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Edmund White  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1940 in Cincinnati, Ohio


-- Website -- http://www.edmundwhite.com
-- Edmund White on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=edmund+white


Illinois Connection

When White was seven years he moved to Evanston with his mother and sister.

Biographical and Professional Information

Edmund White is a novelist, writer of memoirs and an essayist on literary and social topics. He lives in New York and teaches at Princeton. White is one of the best-known writers in gay fiction though his works also include non-fiction and fiction on a wide variety of themes. He has won acclaim from both gay and mainstream literary critics. Along with the books he has written, he also edited the book, ''Loss Within Loss: Artists in the Age of AIDS'' in 2001 and compiled the anthology ''Fresh Men: New Voices in Gay Fiction'' with Don Weise in 2004.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Forgetting Elena: A Novel
ISBN: 067975573X

Vintage. 1994

Combining glittering wit, an atmosphere dense in social paranoia, and a breathtaking elegance and precision of language, White's first novel suggests a hilarious apotheosis of the comedy of manners. For, on the privileged island community where Forgetting Elena takes place, manners are everything. Or so it seems to White's excruciatingly self-conscious young narrator who desperately wants to be accepted in this world where everything from one's bathroom habits to the composition of "spontaneous" poetry is subject to rigid conventions.

Nocturnes for the King of Naples
ISBN: 0312022638

St. Martin's Griffin. 1988

A hauntingly beautiful evocation of lost love, Noctunes for the King of Naples has all the startling, almost embarrassing, intimacy of a stranger's love letters. The intense emotional situation envelops the readers from the first page like all images in a dream, White's characters are the most real people we know, thought they remain phantoms. Each chapter, each nocturne, is set in a different emotional key, but all are interconnected through such subtle modulations that the final effect is devastating.

States of Desire: Travels In Gay America
ISBN: 0525222359

Dutton Adult. 1980

In this city-by-city description of the way homosexual men lived in the late seventies, Edmund White gives us a picture of Gay America that will surprise gay and straight readers alike. With great wit and humor, the co-author of The Joy of Gay Sex tells what goes on behind the glittering surface of fashionable nightspots and glamorous resorts. But he also shows us gay engineers, gay computer experts, and gay cowboys this is a look at a vast world never before documented. By introducing us to a wide variety of gay people, White gives us remarkable new insights into what it means to be gay in America.

In States of Desire, you will meet a gay timber baron from Portland and a "big-wig" (literally as well as figuratively) in the Florida drag world. Here are: handsome lifeguards in Chicago—those "bronzed demigods . . . who lord it above us on their white wood towers" a Hollywood host who has just spent "a typical L.A. day, driving 150 miles assembling the twelve ingredients for supper" a San Franciscan who embraces his friends "with long, therapeutic hugs, silently searching their faces for the weather report of their subtlest, innermost feelings" and Boston gay radicals, who defend some of the most controversial positions that concern society today. You will hear the stories of gay Cubans in Miami, a gay lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and even a self-appointed gay Mormon prophet in Salt Lake City—all narrated with a novelist's fine ear for nuance.

Into this vivid tapestry of people and places the author weaves the pros and cons of such issues as gay radicalism, the "urban gay renaissance" and the much discussed gay penchant for hedonism and sexual extremism. Above all, White shows the remarkable possibilities for gay life today—from the black gay ghettos of Atlanta to communes in New England from "friendship networks" in New York City to New Orleans-style "uptown marriages" (in which men live with wife and children uptown and keep a boy in the Quarter) from Kansas City, where the self-oppression of 1950s gay life still reigns supreme, to Fire Island's unrivaled "spectacle of gay affluence and gay-male beauty." For this eye-opening book makes clear that gay life is every bit as rich and varied as the many gay lives the author so effectively describes.

A Boy's Own Story
ISBN: 0375707409

Vintage. 2000

An instant classic upon its original publication, A Boy's Own Story is the first of Edmund White's highly acclaimed trilogy of autobiographical novels that brilliantly evoke a young man's coming of age and document American gay life through the last forty years.

The nameless narrator in this deeply affecting work reminisces about growing up in the 1950s with emotionally aloof, divorced parents, an unrelenting sister, and the schoolmates who taunt him. He finds consolation in literature and his fantastic imagination. Eager to cultivate intimate, enduring friendships, he becomes aware of his yearning to be loved by men, and struggles with the guilt and shame of accepting who he is. Written with lyrical delicacy and extraordinary power, A Boy's Own Story is a triumph.

Caracole (Vintage International)
ISBN: 067976416X

Vintage. 1996

In French caracole means "prancing" in English, "caper." Both words perfectly describe this high-spirited erotic adventure. In Caracole, White invents an entire world where country gentry languish in decaying mansions and foppish intellectuals exchange lovers and gossip in an occupied city that resembles both Paris under the Nazis and 1980s New York. To that city comes Gabriel, an awkward boy from the provinces whose social navet and sexual ardor make him endlessly attractive to a variety of patrons and paramours.

"A seduction through language, a masque without masks, Caracole brings back to startling life a dormant strain in serious American writing: the idea of the romantic."--Cynthia Ozick

The Beautiful Room Is Empty: A Novel
ISBN: 0679755403

Vintage. 1994

When the narrator of White's poised yet scalding autobiographical novel first embarks on his sexual odyssey, it is the 1950s, and America is "a big gray country of families on drowsy holiday." That country has no room for a scholarly teenager with guilty but insatiable stirrings toward other men. Moving from a Midwestern college to the Stonewall Tavern on the night of the first gay uprising--and populated by eloquent queens, butch poseurs, and a fearfully incompetent shrink--The Beautiful Room is Empty conflates the acts of coming out and coming of age.

"With intelligence, candor, humor--and anger--White explores the most insidious aspects of oppression.... An impressive novel."--Washington Post book World

The Darker Proof: Stories from a Crisis
ISBN: 0452260701

Plume. 1988

The Faber Book of Gay Short Fiction
ISBN: 0571129080

Faber & Faber. 1992

White has created a richly diverse anthology that explores the literary expression of male homosexuality in the American and English tradition. Contributors include Henry James, Alfred Chester, Armistead Maupin, Neil Bartlett, Allan Gurganus, and others. A Lambda Literary Award finalist.

Genet: A Biography
ISBN: 0679754792

Vintage. 1994

A meticulously researched biography of Jean Genet, one of France's most notorious writers. Acclaimed novelist and essayist Edmund White illuminates Genet's experiences in the worlds of crime, homosexuality, politics, and high culture, and gives