White, Edmund

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Portrait of Edmund White (click to view image source)
Edmund White
(to view image author and license, click here)
Name
White, Edmund Gender: M
White, Edmund Valentine III
born on 13 January 1940 at 17:11 (= 5:11 PM )
Place Cincinnati OH, USA, 39n09, 84w27
Timezone EST h5w (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_capcol.18.gif 22°36' s_mo.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 10°57 Asc.s_cancol.18.gif 18°24'



Biography

American writer who transcended his original acclaim as a "gay writer" by becoming a master craftsman of unconventional novels, non-fiction and semi-autobiographical writing.

White was born in Cincinnati to an engineer and entrepreneur father and child psychologist mother. His parents divorced when he was seven years old and he moved with his mother and sister to Evanston, Illinois. He tentatively came out as gay to himself at 12 but was babied by his mother who saw his homosexuality as a prolonged state of intimacy. As a shy and chubby identity-seeking Midwestern teenager, White searched for books in the local Public Library about homosexuality to find only Thomas Mann's "Death in Venice" and a biography of Nijinski. Neither book painted an attractive picture of homosexual life.

White dyed his hair blonde at 15 and planned to run away to New York with a male hustler until his prospective partner robbed him of his bus-fare and disappeared. He claims to have had sex with several hundred people, mostly men, by the time he was 16. His mom put him in a Chicago boarding school. After he told her that he wanted to marry the son of her fiancé, he was started on treatment with a psychiatrist twice a week for his "sexual disorder." In 1962, he earned a B.A. at the University of Michigan, majoring in Chinese, and moved to New York City.

As a good-looking, trim and taut weightlifter, he embarked on a five-year relationship with another man. He would also play dumb on street corners to pick up married men with whom he had sex for money, and he posed for male porn magazines and erotic films - at the same time that he was holding down a well-salaried position as a journalist and editor at Time-Life Books, 1962-70.

After a year in Rome, White came back to NYC and worked as an editor at The Saturday Review, 1972-73. He then returned to academia and took a series of posts as an instructor in creative writing at Yale, John Hopkins and Columbia. In January 1976 he took in his 16-year-old heterosexual nephew (who had been in a Chicago psycho ward) and played a substitute dad (albeit campy-theatrical), overseeing the teenager's homework at night before heading out to the leather bars. White used part of the advance he received to co-write "The Joy of Gay Sex," 1977 to pay for his nephew's education at a private school.

Since attending the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City (which gave birth to the gay political movement), White has chronicled the subsequent evolution of an American gay subculture. He and six other gay male writers formed the Violet Quill in NYC in the mid-1970s so they could meet to read and offer critiques of each other's work. White's critically and commercially successful books include the novels, "Forgetting Elena," 1972 and "Nocturnes for the King of Naples," 1978. The travelogue, "States of Desire: Travels in Gay America," 1980, examines gay life before the devastation of the AIDS crisis. His mostly-autobiographical series of four novels includes "A Boy's Own Story," 1982, "The Beautiful Room is Empty," 1988, "The Farewell Symphony," 1997 and "The Married Man," 2000.

"Genet," 1993, is a monumental biography of Jean Genet, the homosexual French novelist and playwright. "Skinned Alive," 1995 is White's anthology of short stories. Not afraid to show himself in a dark light, White wrote about betraying a gay teacher in "His Own Story," while the HIV+ narrator of "Symphony" rapes a man without wearing a condom. His anthology, "Gay Short Fiction," 1991, was heavily criticized for its failure to include works by any men of color. Despite this, White's body of work generally presents a broad gallery of gay characters that rejects the medical, religious, and legal inscriptions that have cast negative shadows over male homosexuality.

White moved to Paris in 1983 and many of his closest friends have since died from AIDS complications. He discovered that he himself was HIV+ in 1985, estimating that he had sex with over 3000 men between 1962 and 1982. A non-drinker, non-smoker, and non illegal drug-taker, he rejected the use of medicinal drugs such as AZT to combat the virus. His younger French lover, a married artist and architect, died from the disease in March 1994 while on holiday with White in Morocco. They had been together for five years. In 1995 he met another younger man, an aspiring novelist with whom he began a steady relationship.

White has been a lyrical chronicler of the generation of gay men who lived through oppression in the 1950s, freedom in the 1960s, exaltation in the 1970s, devastation in the 1980s and survival in the 1990s and beyond. He lives by his belief that the "true duty of gay writers is to remind readers of the wealth of gay accomplishments. Only in that way... will a gay heritage be passed down to a post-plague generation."

Link to Wikipedia biography

Events

  • Social : End a program of study 1962 (B.A. degree)
  • Work : New Career 1962 (Eight years at Time-Life books)
  • Work : New Job 1972 (The Saturday Review)
  • Family : Change in family responsibilities January 1976 (Nephew came to live with him)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1977 (Co-wrote book)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1972 (Successful novel released)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1993 (Biography released)
  • Family : Change residence 1983 (To Paris)
  • Health : Medical diagnosis 1985 (HIV+)
  • Relationship : Peak Sex 1962 (3,000 sexual partners, 20 years)
  • Death of Significant person March 1994 (Lover died of AIDS)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Begin significant relationship 1995 (Steady relationship)

Source Notes

B.C. in hand, LMR

Categories

  • Vocation : Writers : Fiction (Gay)
  • Vocation : Writers : Biographer
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer
  • Passions : Sexuality : Homosexual male
  • Passions : Sexuality : Extremes in quantity (Over 3,000 sexual relations)
  • Family : Childhood : Parents divorced
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Aids
  • Family : Relationship : Mate - Same sex (Some long term partners)
  • Vocation : Sex Business : Porno Market (Some porn work)
  • Family : Parenting : Foster, Step, or Adopted Kids (Helped raise nephew)
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Treatment/Therapy (Rejected conventional medicine)

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