An insightful account of the key role reading has played in the life of literary icon Edmund White
Edmund White made his name as a writer, but he remembers his life through the books he read. For White, each momentous occasion came with books to match- Proust 's Remembrance of Things Past, which opened up the seemingly closed world of homosexuality while he was at boarding school in Michigan; the Ezra Pound poems adored by a lover he followed to New York; the biography of Stephen Crane that inspired one of White 's novels.
Blending memoir and literary criticism, The Unpunished Vice is a compendium of all the ways reading has shaped White 's life and work. His larger-than-life presence on the literary scene he is close friends with giants including Michael Ondaatje and Joyce Carol Oates lends itself to fascinating, intimate insights into the lives of some of the world 's best-loved cultural figures. With characteristic wit and candour, he recalls reading Henry James to Peggy Guggenheim in her private gondola in Venice, and phone calls at eight o 'clock in the morning to Vladimir Nabokov who once said that White was his favourite American writer.
Featuring writing that has appeared in The New York Review of Books, The Paris Review and The Times Literary Supplement, among others, The Unpunished Vice is a wickedly smart and insightful account of a life in literature.
About the Author
Edmund White is the author of many novels, including A Boy's Own Story, The Beautiful Room Is Empty, The Farewell Symphony , and, most recently, Our Young Man. His nonfiction includes City Boy, Inside a Pearl, and other memoirs; The Fl neur , about Paris; and literary biographies and essays. White lives in New York.
I find it impossible to imagine anyone better read than White ... Wisdom and a certain kind of tenderness are to be found on every page -- Rachel Cooke * Observer *
White is above all else a writer's writer: one of the great prose stylists of our time ... An afternoon stroll with a Grade-A literary flaneur ... There are few paragraphs that pass by without an illuminating, wise or funny comment -- Tim Smith-Laing * Daily Telegraph *
As a peerless chronicler and interpreter of gay American life before, during and after the age of Aids, as a connoisseur of French (and so much other) literature and as a Princeton professor of creative writing, White never lost touch with that spirit of antic mischief ... Much more fun - and more surprising - than a leisurely ramble through favourite works by a 78-year-old giant of letters has any right to be * Spectator *
Praise for Edmund White * - *
A writer blessed with ... [an] elusive gift, and it should probably be called wisdom * Daily Telegraph *
His writing finds itself echoing Proust ... Since the publication of A Boy's Own Story thirty years ago, [White's] own prose style has hardly aged a day * The Times *
Edmund White is one of the best writers of my generation; he's certainly the contemporary American writer I reread more than any other, and the one whose next book I look forward to reading most -- John Irving
White's prose is a series of slaps to the face, filled with reckless energy * New York Times Book Review *
White simply does it better than most -- Neil Bartlett * Guardian *
One of America's pre-eminent men of letters ... White's great achievement lies in his never holding back * Washington Post *
Edmund White tells such a good story that I'm ready to to listen to anything he wants to talk about -- praise for 'The Flaneur' * New York Times *
He never descends to savage satire. This open-heartedness, an essential White quality, makes his writing sparkle with generosity ... Every detail is alive and gleaming ... It is also a book that floats above things, so light is its touch, so playful and joyous its execution -- praise for 'Our Young Man', Neel Mukherjee * Guardian *