Quotes by: Edmund White

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Everyone seems agreed that writing about sex is perilous, partly because it threatens to swamp highly individualised characters in a generic, featureless activity (much like coffee-cup dialogue, during which everyone sounds the same), and partly because it feels... tacky.
Edmund White
In the case of my book, I don't think it's really the coming-out gay novel that everyone really needed, even though it was received as such. The boy is too creepy, he betrays his teacher, the only adult man with whom he's enjoyed a sexual experience, etc.
Edmund White
The Internet's impact is immense. My students can't imagine ever paying for a book.
Edmund White
I was too prissy, too refined, too abstemious, too French to be a good American writer.
Edmund White
AIDS had won gays sympathy; they no longer seemed the privileged brats that the general populace had resented in the 1970s.
Edmund White
I asked my body if it was going to die or not from AIDS. And it said 'no.' I sort of paid attention to that.
Edmund White
America thrives on identity politics, left and right. But France is opposed to the idea. Since the Revolution, the French have enthroned the idea of universalism. All of us must be equal before the law as abstract individuals, and that extends to the arts.
Edmund White
Looking back, I can see that the women I loved, at least early on, were status symbols. I suppose, in that sense, I was my mother's true disciple. She'd taught me that a good man, though elusive, could transform one's whole life once he was caught.
Edmund White
If you're a beach person or a golfer, Key West is not for you. Most of the sand has been imported, and the water is shallow until you've waded far out, and all the way the sea floor is covered with yucky algae and sea grass.
Edmund White
Perhaps no other body of literature is as subject to political pressures from within the community as gay fiction.
Edmund White
Key West is the place where your sickly house plant back in New York grows to 10 ft. It's also the place where an 8-ft. cactus, the century plant, produces a huge yellow flower every great once in a while, like a robot proffering a bouquet. After the plant flowers, it dies.
Edmund White
Europeans forget that one-third of the American people have had a personal conversation with Jesus Christ and that the born-again are not just little old ladies in black but also CEOs and provosts of universities and candidates for office.
Edmund White
I lived through the Fifties in the Midwest when everything that was happening - the repression of homosexuality, for instance, the demonization of the Left, the giggly, soporific ordinariness of adolescence, the stone-deafness to the social injustice all around us - seemed not only unobjectionable but also nonexistent.
Edmund White
I think I could be a cook. Everybody always says I'm good, though I think it's quite gruelling as a profession.
Edmund White
'One Hundred Years of Solitude' is a masterpiece because it is an episodic novel that has a rigorous form - an unprecedented combination. From the very beginning we know the town of Macondo will endure only a century, so there is a limit to the length of the narrative.
Edmund White
Reading the several thousand pages of Christopher Isherwood's complete journals is an instructive corrective to the prissiness of reading fiction. Isherwood had faults that we'd say were unforgiveable in a novel (he was careful to distance himself from these in his autobiographical fiction).
Edmund White
In retrospect, we could see that the 1950s had been a reactionary period in America of Eisenhower blandness, of virulent anticommunism, of the 'Feminine Mystique.'
Edmund White
Originally, I was against gay marriage because I was opposed to all marriage, being an old-fashioned gay bohemian. The straight people I knew in the sixties were very much opposed to it. I was, too, and it was never a possibility for gays, but when I saw how opposed the Religious Right was to it, I thought it a fight worth fighting.
Edmund White
I'm an atheist, I always thought, 'This is it.' If there is going to be a heaven, it should be on earth. I feel much happier than most people. I'm fairly stoic about death, but I'm not keen on dying if it's going to be long and protracted. I don't have dark nights of the soul, except occasionally. I'm such a little busy bee.
Edmund White
When a woman falls in love with me, I feel guilty. I am convinced that it's pure obstinacy that keeps me from reciprocating her passion. As I explain to her that I'm gay, it sounds, even to me, like a silly excuse; I scarcely believe it myself.
Edmund White
In 'A Boy's Own Story' and 'Jack Holmes and His Friend,' my idea was to take someone totally different from my real self and, at the same time, to assign to him my own life trajectory.
Edmund White
Part of my problem as a young writer was that I was too much a New Yorker, always second-guessing the 'market.' I became so discouraged that I decided to write something that would please me alone - that became my sole criterion. And that was when I wrote 'Forgetting Elena,' the first novel I got published.
Edmund White
In his enigmatic and cunning story 'The Crown of Feathers,' Isaac Bashevis Singer refuses to produce uncontradictory evidence of God's will but rather mixes all signals, jams the evidence, stalls every conclusion.
Edmund White
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