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White, Edmund. SACRED MONSTERS. New York City, NY: Magnus Books, 2011. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 258 pages. Fine/Fine.

Retrospective collection of essays. One of Edmund White's finest achievements. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a tiny first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Edmund White's "Sacred Monsters". A "case-by-case" elaboration and summing-up of his aesthetics, here are twenty-two beautifully written essays on a gamut of modern and contemporary cultural figures. White calls them "sacred monsters", the literal (and felicitous) translation of the French "monstre sacre", someone who is, in his Webster's dictionary-worthy definition, "a venerable or popular celebrity so well-known that he or she is above criticism, a legend who despite eccentricities or faults cannot be measured by ordinary standards; a fixture on the cultural horizon". Another religious term, "icon", is more commonly used today to refer to a human being so transcendent he or she becomes a divinity, a god or goddess, and as Truman Capote, one of the sacred monsters in the book, once famously said, criticizing a sacred monster or icon is like criticizing the Hudson River. White's sacred monsters include John Cheever, Patti Smith, Henry James, Mary Cassatt, Paul Bowles, Andy Warhol, John Singer Sargent, Vladimir Nabokov, Auguste Rodin, Edith Wharton, Christopher Isherwood, Allen Ginsberg, Marguerite Duras, John Rechy, Ford Maddox Ford, David Hockney, Reynolds Price, E. M. Forster, James Abbott McNeil Whistler, and Marcel Proust, among others. White's piece on the Rodin sculpture of the handsome Belgian soldier Auguste Neyt illuminates the deeply personal and homoerotic aesthetics underlying his criticism: "Of course our formalist critics today teach us not to confuse art with life, but when I was an adolescent, Rodin's art - this one sculpture - had replaced life. I wanted somehow to marry him, to live with him the rest of my life. Since Auguste Neyt had already been dead for half a century, surely my union with him was preposterous, impossible - something that took me out of time and history and propelled me into an ideal world of timeless desire. That conundrum - how to marry a man already dead for half a century when the statue was Rodin's invention and not the soldier, and marriage to any member of the same sex was unthinkable - was my introduction to the ideal and excruciatingly improbable realm of art" (Edmund White) . "One of the three or four most virtuosic living writers of sentences in the English language" (Dave Eggers) . An absolute "must-have" title for Edmund White collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed in black ink-pen on the title page by Edmund White. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page or bookplate. Laid-in is a fine copy of the Souvenir Material of the event during which the signing was held. This title is a contemporary classic. As far as we know, this is the only such signed copy of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A rare signed copy thus. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1994 for "Genet". Anointed by Vladimir Nabokov as his American successor. One of the finest living American writers. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER EDMUND WHITE TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 1936833115. $100.00

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