Quotes by: Edmund White

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Edmund White
White in his home in New York, October 2007
Born Edmund Valentine White III
January 13, 1940 (age 76)
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Occupation novelist, short stories, non-fiction
Nationality American
Period 1970s-present
Notable works The Joy of Gay Sex, A Boy's Own Story, The Beautiful Room Is Empty, The Farewell Symphony
Spouse Michael Carroll

I suppose people hadn't really thought each decade should have its own character and be different from the others till the 1920s, although I remember in a nineteenth-century Russian novel someone remarked that a character was a typical man of the 1830s - progressive and an atheist.
Edmund White
First, I was opposed to gay marriage because it seemed like one more way that gays were wanting to assimilate. When I realized the Christian right was so opposed to it, as well as tyrannical governments in Africa and Russia, I thought, 'It must be a good thing to fight for.'
Edmund White
When I was living in Paris in the '80s, I used to go out with an American model who couldn't speak French. But suddenly everyone could speak English because he was so cute.
Edmund White
I hate writing. I almost never write. I write against deadlines. And when I'm teaching, I'm focused on that.
Edmund White
In the middle of my sophomore year, I was sent to boarding school, at the Cranbrook School for boys, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where I fell in love with Marilyn Monroe. I knew that she was the most beautiful woman in the world, and yet she was in pain, in need. She was unhappy. I believed that I could help her.
Edmund White
In the 1970s in New York, everyone slept till noon. It was a grungy, dangerous, bankrupt city without normal services most of the time. The garbage piled up and stank during long strikes by the sanitation workers. A major blackout led to days and days of looting. The city seemed either frightening or risible to the rest of the nation.
Edmund White
I longed for literary celebrity even as I saw with my own eyes how little happiness it brought.
Edmund White
Readers of novels often fall into the bad habit of being overly exacting about the characters' moral flaws. They apply to these fictional beings standards that no one they know in real life could possibly meet.
Edmund White
I've always been impelled to say the truth. When I was 14, in 1954, I already wrote a gay novel, though I'd never read one. I felt that life handed me a great subject, gay life, that had scarcely been examined, and I was impelled to record it in all its strange detail.
Edmund White
I've always deplored bad heterosexual values that dictate the minute a marriage is over the former partners no longer speak to each other; only straights could be so cruel and inhuman as to reject totally the person with whom they've shared their life for 20 or 30 years.
Edmund White
Women and gay men have something in common after all: in that they are trying to deal with this goofy egotistical monster called a man.
Edmund White
I think that there are empty ecological niches in the literary landscape crying to be filled and when a book more or less fills a niche it's seized on, even when it's a far from perfect fit.
Edmund White
While writing 'City Boy,' I relied mainly on my own memories. In particular, I was able to describe the effect of gay liberation on an individual life (mine) as events paralleled my own growing self-acceptance; in this case, the political truly was the personal.
Edmund White
I don't have to get married myself in order to campaign on behalf of gay marriage.
Edmund White
I used to think that I could be successful if I pretended to be a 23-year-old black woman. I wanted to find a young black woman who would be willing to go in on this with me. I would write her novels, and then she would do the touring. I always thought I was too old and the wrong color.
Edmund White
Fiction is the thing I esteem most in my own work; I feel that, even if it's no good, only I could have written those books.
Edmund White
Just like Barack Obama, my views on gay marriage have evolved, and now I am a reluctant groom.
Edmund White
It always seemed much better to be a writer - a Real Writer - than a successful hack.
Edmund White
When I was a child, I loved 'The Marble Faun' by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The reason I liked it was because it had a beautiful binding. When you're a kid, you like books because they're pretty to look at, and this one had a white calfskin cover and gold edges. That was enough to make me love it.
Edmund White
In Paris, AIDS was dismissed as an American phobia until French people started dying; then everyone said, 'Well, you have to die some way or another.' If Americans were hysterical and pragmatic, the French were fatalistic: depressed but determined to keep the party going.
Edmund White
If bigots oppose gay marriage so vehemently, it must be because marriage is a defining institution for them; gays will never be fully accepted until they can marry and adopt, like anyone else.
Edmund White
Biography can be the most middle-class of all forms, the judgment of little people avenging themselves on the great.
Edmund White
In a novel, I think you have a contract with the reader to make the character representative - of a moment in history, a social class... for instance, I wanted to make the boy in 'A Boy's Own Story' more like other gay men of my generation in their youth and not like me.
Edmund White
'The Truth About Lorin Jones' will undoubtedly shock and offend as many readers as it will amuse, since it dares to make fun of feminism - of its manners, if not its politics.
Edmund White
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