In the wake of the publication of his novel The Farewell Symphony, Edmund White spoke at the John Adams Institute. The Farewell Symphony, named after Haydn’s orchestral work in which all the instrumentalists abandon the ensemble in turn until the last violinist is left playing solo, is the story of a gay man who has outlived most of his friends. The book is the third of a semi-autobiographical trilogy of which the earlier novels are A Boy’s Own Story (1982) and The Beautiful Room is Empty (1988). The Farewell Symphony tells the story of the liberation and promiscuity of the 1970s, the fear of AIDS and deep reflection of the 1980s. Edmund White has written novels, short stories, plays, essays, and a highly acclaimed biography of Jean Genet. He has been influential as a literary and cultural critic, particularly same-sex love and sexuality. He is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University.
Moderator: David Leavitt
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