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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. Fine/Fine.

Landmark study on subject. One of the best books on opera ever written in our time. 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 by a small independent press. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Wayne Koestenbaum's "The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, And The Mystery of Desire". An idiosyncratic and masterly account on opera. 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. It is surely (if somewhat uneasily for opera's heterosexual devotees) the definitive book on the connection between opera and homosexuality. Koestenbaum sees in opera's preposterous marriage of music and words not snobbish comfort, but the pathos of being its fan - indeed, of being a fan - as well as a source of proud self-affirmation. Opera is 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 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. It should be pointed out that this is not an exercise in self-indulgence: Koestenbaum knows his beloved music supremely well, and writes about it with penetrating intelligence. His analyses of the greatest operas, from Mozart to Puccini, put to shame the dry, academic, and cold essays by musicologists. He devotes an entire chapter to Maria Callas, the greatest diva of the 20th century, and anyone who knows Callas' tragic personal life will immediately see the projection that connects 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). An absolute "must-have" title for Wayne Koestenbaum collectors. This title is a classic. This is one of few copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. Please note: Copies available online have serious flaws, are subsequent printings, or are remainder-marked. This is surely an accessible and lovely alternative. A scarce copy thus. One of the most brilliant culture critics of our time. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER WAYNE KOESTENBAUM TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0671754572. $20.00

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