Edmund White is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books, including the autobiographical trilogy A Boy’s Own Story, The Beautiful Room is Empty, and The Farewell Symphony, as well as The Joy of Gay Sex (with Charles Silverstein), States of Desire, Genet: A Biography, Proust, The Married Man, and, most recently, Flâneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris. His new novel, Fanny: A Fiction, will be published in the fall of 2003. White is director of creative writing at Princeton University and lives in New York City. He delivered a lecture on the historical novel as part of the Department Of English’s Esther Freier Endowed Lecture Series at the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota in November 2002 and was kind enough during his visit to give me an interview, from which the following conversation—about the body, aging, and beauty—is excerpted.
Chris Freeman, co-editor of The Isherwood Century, teaches English at St. John’s University in Minnesota. He is currently working on a biography of Paul Monette.