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White, Edmund. THE FAREWELL SYMPHONY. New York City, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 413 pages. Fine/Fine. Signed.

The author's sixth novel. Now considered a contemporary classic. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Edmund White's "The Farewell Symphony". The third and final volume in Edmund White's trilogy. The other titles are "A Boy's Own Story" (1982) and "The Beautiful Room Is Empty" (1988). The most elegiac of the three, "The Farewell Symphony" deals with the devastation and decimation of an entire community by AIDS, a creative loss as much as a human one, from which American culture has yet to fully recover. Whereas the second volume's title came from Kafka, the present one alludes to the heartbreakingly beautiful Haydn symphony, in which the orchestra members play in unison (as usual). Then the players physically leave the stage one by one (unusually) until there is no one left as the symphony comes to The End, a poignant metaphor for the way AIDS removed from the world's stage far too many of the author's beloved friends, lovers, and colleagues. The novel is a panorama of gay life during the last two decades of the 20th century, as seen through Edmund White's penetrating yet loving gaze. In fictional terms that are clearly borne out by what really happened, White shows that the slow response of the Reagan Administration to AIDS (including its outright denial of AIDS' very existence) was deliberate (therefore evil) because the American gay community had become too powerful politically. White also asserts, not just insinuates, that the campaign was shamefully conducted with the tacit or explicit support of prominent figures who were themselves gay. Written in Edmund White's effortless, supple, and immaculate prose. "To look only at what a single English sentence can, in White's hands, become is to stand entranced before sensuous grace" (Cynthia Ozick). "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. This title is a contemporary classic. This is one of very few such signed copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. Please note: At the time of the book's publication, Edmund White was based in Paris, suffering from AIDS, and believed he would never return to America. He was one of the first prominent figures to be diagnosed with the illness, and after more than twenty-five years, remains one of its longest-living survivors (through a cocktail regimen). So signed copies from the period will be difficult to find. 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 American writers of our time. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER EDMUND WHITE TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0679434771. $70.00

This item is available for purchase. This web page was most recently updated on September 23, 2017.