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Loss Within Loss: Artists in the Age of AIDS Hardcover – January 18, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: The University of Wisconsin Press; 1 edition (January 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0299170705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0299170707
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,771,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"The essays in this book mark a void," writes noted novelist White (The Married Man) in his introduction to this admirable volume, which commemorates the lives of dozens of artists who have died from AIDS. White, who edited the collection and commissioned most of the works, allows the 22 contributors to bear witness to their loss in their unique voices. Conventionality takes a backseat to searing honesty in Sarah Shulman's "Through the Looking Glass"--which praises the accomplishments of editor/writer Stan Leventhal even as it declares, "this guy could not really write"--and to the mix of barbs and accolades Craig Lucas brings to his evocation of lost lovers. Many of the authors blur the distinctions between memoir and biography; some rant, some gossip, some grieve. Many explore the transience of fame, the connections of outsider art to outlaw sexuality, the essence of a "gay aesthetic" and the meaning of friendship. In a stylistic tour de grƒce, J.D. McClatchy limns his ambivalence about Paul Monette's public death (documented in the film Paul Monette: The Brink of Summer's End) and about James Merrill's secrecy about his illness. John Berendt interprets the artistry of Bruce Kelly, who designed New York City's Strawberry Fields, while Phillip Lopate gives a straight man's perspective on the life and work of avant-garde filmmaker Warren Sonbert. White, who knew many of the profiled artists, lucidly places these portraits and others into a broader context. With a selection of accompanying photographs, this book is an important contribution to the history of AIDS's effect on gay life and culture.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This volume, published with the support of the leading nonprofit serving HIV-positive artists, is a poignant reminder of the devastating impact of the AIDS epidemic on the arts. This collection of emotionally charged essays recounts the lives of a variety of artists who have died of AIDS, including relative unknowns as well as such renowned individuals as poet James Merrill, painter David Wojnarowicz, and filmmaker Derek Jarman. The authors, primarily the artists' lovers and close friends, include such esteemed writers as Maya Angelou, Alan Gurganus, Brad Gooch, John Berendt, and Robert Rosenblum. What resonates throughout these intensely personal essays is that many of these artists died prematurely, never achieving their full potential. White's introduction vacillates between nostalgia for the 1980s and the sorrow and despair that AIDS has brought him. Surprisingly, his apolitical introduction lacks the outrage at society's inaction often associated with AIDS discourse. Recommended for general collections in both academic and public libraries. Krista Ivy, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MOVIE MAVEN on December 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
LOSS WITHIN LOSS is a major collection of biographical short stories: tributes to friends, lovers and colleagues who have died from AIDS.
Several of the contributing writers are quite famous: the lecturer/poet/teacher Maya Angelou, the playwright/screenwriter Craig Lucas ("Prelude To A Kiss," "Longtime Companion"), the novelist Allan Gurganus ("Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All"), the writer Andrew Solomon ("The Noonday Demon") et. al. Several of the dedicatees lived the lives of celebrities: the poet James Merrill, the film makers Derek Jarman and Howard Brookner, the writer Paul Monette. But it is not their fame which is celebrated in this book: it is their love and friendship and, most importantly, their art which is now lost to the world forever because of a disease, the deadly power of which, was and still is, underestimated. The styles of the stories are as diverse as the styles of the individual writers: some read like the poetry they are; some like straight-forward fiction and some like excruciatingly honest, almost farcical diary entries.
These are not simply sad stories; they are beautifully written, funny, charming, intelligent, very candid rememberances of lives past passed. Besides the stories, there are some photographs of the artists and their works, biographies of the writers and their subjects, a wonderful photograph by John Dugdale on the cover and an introduction by Edmund White
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
LOSS WITHIN LOSS is a most appropriately titled reminiscence of the black hole AIDS blasted in our art community. Edmund White, always the sensitive observor and writer of tender memoirs, takes on the role of Editor here and has selected some very fine writers to personalize the contributions and deaths of their friends. He has also written minibiobraphies of not only the artists who have been lost but also of each of the biographers. Selecting artist/bigraphers to highlight in a review of a book of this total force seems almost incongruous, yet Chris DeBlasio is so beautifully defined by William Berger, and the polarities of the lives and deaths of Paul Monette and James Merrill who died within four days of each other are so adroitly observed by their mutual firend J.D. McClatchy, and Felice Picano's warm eulogy for Robert Ferro and all that surrounded the Violet Quill Club are all so fine that they shine especialy brightly.
The unexpected joyful aspect of spending time with this extraordinary book is discovering how much we didn't know about so many artists in every field - from poetry, to novels, to puppets, to architecture, to dance. Yes, the names ring distant bells, but when the artists are put into context with the time in which they were creating AND that they were creating knowing that their corporal time was limited, the effect is staggering. I do not find this book at all morose; if anything it is celebratory. And the method of presentation and quality of writing leaves the reader with one primary question: What if AIDS hadn't destroyed so many brilliant minds, so many unborn ideas? As a document on the effect of a devastating disease on the arts and as a resource book of what was happening in the forefront of culture in the 1980s and 1990s, this book will be the gold standard. Highly recommended reading - on so many levels.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tom O'Leary on March 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This powerful, superb book is peopled with a sampling of the great and graceful artists who have been swept into eternity by AIDS. All of the essays are moving. Especially touching is the memoir which gathers together the angelic Paul Monette and the ferocious James Merrill. Brad Gooch contributes his best writing to date in his touching remembrances of his lovely partner Howard.
This book will break your heart and make you smile at the same time. It's truly a work of art.
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