Edmund Valentine White III (January 13, 1940 - ) is an American novelist, as well as a writer of memoirs and an essayist on literary and social topics. Much of his writing is on the theme of same-sex love. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, White largely grew up in Chicago. He attended Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan as a boy. Afterwards he studied Chinese at the University of Michigan. Later White worked in New York as a journalist. He is a member of the faculty of Princeton University's Program in Creative Writing
Much of White’s work draws on his gay experience. His debut novel, Forgetting Elena (1973), set on an island, can be read as commenting on gay culture in a coded manner. His book, The Joy of Gay Sex (1977), written with Charles Silverstein, made him known to a wider readership. His next novel, Nocturnes for the King of Naples (1978) was explicitly gay-themed and drew on his own life. From 1980 to 1981, White was a member of a gay writers' group, The Violet Quill. White's autobiographic works are frank and unapologetic about his promiscuity and his HIV-positive status. In 1982, he helped found the group, Gay Men's Health Crisis, in New York City. In the same year appeared White's best-known work, A Boy's Own Story - the first volume of an autobiographic-fiction series, that continued with The Beautiful Room Is Empty (1988) and The Farewell Symphony (1997), describing stages in the life of a gay man from boyhood to middle age.
From 1983 to 1990, White lived in France. In 1984, in Paris he was involved in the foundation of the French HIV/AIDS organization, AIDES. During this period he published his novel, Caracole (1985), which centers on heterosexual relationships. After returning to America White maintained his interest in France and French literature, publishing Genet: A Biography (1993), Our Paris: Sketches From Memory (1995), Marcel Proust (1998), The Flaneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris (2000) and Rimbaud (2008).
Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.
Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.
If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or email@example.com. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)
Acquisition Note: Source: Gift of William H. Gass. Accession number 2099
Preferred Citation:Name of the Collection, Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections