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Terms Of Service
H. P. Lovecraft
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I think sincerity was my sole aesthetic and realism my experimental technique.
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.
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.
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.
The one thing that is sort of sneered at and not really believed is bisexuality. Any bisexual man is just seen as a closeted gay man. That shows how narrow-minded people are. The other thing that's totally neglected and which nobody approves of is celibacy. People again assume that you're just repressing something.
When I was young, I despised old people. I was provincial and narrow-minded. It's the reason I stayed stupid so long. If you only get involved with young people you don't learn anything about the world.
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.
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.
There ought to be more grants that go to people in their late twenties and early thirties. That's a crucial age, although it's very hard to judge who is worth supporting and who is not. Looking back on my own life, I see that was the period when I was closest to giving up as a novelist and when I most needed some encouragement.
New York has been the subject of thousands of books. Every immigrant group has had its saga as has every epoch and social class.
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The Internet's impact is immense. My students can't imagine ever paying for a book.
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.
If I had been straight, I would have been an entirely different person. I would never have turned toward writing with a burning desire to confess, to understand, to justify myself in the eyes of others... I wouldn't have been impelled to live in New York and choose the hard poverty of bohemia over the soft comfort of the business world.
In a memoir, your main contract with the reader is to tell the truth, no matter how bizarre.
I was too prissy, too refined, too abstemious, too French to be a good American writer.
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.
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.
Since, in the best Southern tradition, I was named Edmund Valentine White III, sometimes when people look up my books on Amazon they find 'Chocolate Drops from the South' by my grandfather.
Just like Barack Obama, my views on gay marriage have evolved, and now I am a reluctant groom.
'The Sound of Things Falling' may be a page turner, but it's also a deep meditation on fate and death. Even in translation, the superb quality of Vasquez's prose is evident, captured in Anne McLean's idiomatic English version. All the novel's characters are well imagined, original and rounded.
The natural enmity between leaver and left is like the absolute, immediate and always shifting hostility between driver and pedestrian.
I've accompanied several dying people on their travels, and the desert seems to be a favored destination. It is very hot and dry and lyrical in its own way.
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.
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.
As a young teenager I looked desperately for things to read that might excuse me or assure me I wasn't the only one, that might confirm an identity I was unhappily piecing together.
Biography can be the most middle-class of all forms, the judgment of little people avenging themselves on the great.
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