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Koestenbaum, Wayne. THE QUEEN'S THROAT: OPERA, HOMOSEXUALITY, AND THE MYSTERY OF DESIRE. New York City, NY: Poseidon Press, 1993. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 271 pages. As New/As New.

Landmark study on subject. Now considered a contemproary classic. The true First Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited print run as a hardcover original only by a small press. The book began as one brilliant essay on Mozart that the great literary critic and novelist Susan Sontag included in her selection of the Best American Essays of the Year 1992. Fascinating and often hilarious, it is the definitive book on the connection between opera and homosexuality. Wayne Koestenbaum, a poet, literary critic, and social historian, sees in opera's preposterous marriage of music and words not snobbish comfort but a source of proud self-affirmation. There is something about opera that makes it singularly appealing to homosexuals: Its transformation of tragedy and unrequited love into smoldering passion and ecstasy, the noble, not just the ephemeral, suspension of disbelief, which imagines a better and more beautiful world not just for gay men but for all men, which is why it would be a shame if only gay men read the book. Everyone leads a double life, the real one and the fantastic one. If gay men were made to choose just one life to live to the fullest, they would probably choose fantasy, given the long and continuing history of persecution and oppression they have endured, a fact that is true in even the most liberal and enlightened European societies. Most others would choose reality and make it bearable with a heavy dose of irony as Woody Allen, for example, has, in his equally preposterous romantic films. It should be pointed out that his labor of love is not an exercise in self-indulgence: Koestenbaum knows his beloved music supremely well and writes about it with a sharp and forceful intelligence. His analyses of the greatest operas, from Mozart to Puccini, would put to shame the dry, academic, and cold essays by musicologists. He devotes an entire chapter to Maria Callas, the greatest soprano of the 20th century, and anyone who knows Callas's tragic personal life will see immediately the connection that almost naturally exists between her and the gay man. "A brilliant book, an ecstatic book, and inevitably, an elegiac book. And one which, like some operas, certain voices, has the capacity to provoke admiration, rapture, identification" (Susan Sontag). Koestenbaum is not a social activist (he addresses the issue, that is to say, the limits of activism) but what he has detonated is something much more powerful and subversive than any time bomb. Possibly the single best book on opera of its kind, this is a dazzling tour-de-force that no one is likely to equal or surpass. A "must-have" titel for Wayne Koestenbaum and opera lover/collectors. This title is no longer in print as a hardcover and is now collectible. This is the best copy we have ever seen and has no flaws, a pristine beauty. A scarce copy thus. Lavishly illustrated with black-and-white photographs of some of the greatest opera stars of the 20th century. One of the most brilliant American writers of the 20th century. A flawless copy. . ISBN 0671754572. $30.00

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