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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. The First Hardcover 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 independent press. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Wayne Koestenbaum's "The Queen's Throat". A 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. 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' 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). An absolute "must-have" title for Wayne Koestenbaum and opera lover/collectors. This title is a late-modern classic. This is one of very few copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A scarce copy thus. One of the most brilliant American writers of our time. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER WAYNE KOESTENBAUM TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0671754572. $50.00

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