James McCourt (writer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Courtesy of Vincent Virga. Vincent Virga and James McCourt in 1965

James McCourt (born July 4, 1941) is a gay[1] American-born writer and novelist who was raised in Jackson Heights, Queens.[2] McCourt has been with his life partner, novelist Vincent Virga,[3] since 1964 [4] after they met at Yale University as graduate students in the Yale School of Drama.[4] McCourt's and Virga's papers are held[5] at Yale's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.


“The central photo was taken by Laura Rubin a long time ago, and the ones on the far right were taken even longer ago: Jimmy McCourt in Central Park the summer before we met at Yale in '64 and me getting on a boat in Amsterdam in '65.” Vincent Virga

McCourt is best known for his extravagant novel Mawrdew Czgowchwz (1975), about a fictional opera diva, and his 2003 nonfiction book Queer Street, about gay life in New York City after World War II. His novel, Now Voyagers (2007), is the first in a series of projected sequels to Mawrdew Czgowchwz.


McCourt has garnered praise from critics Susan Sontag and Harold Bloom and has recently been championed by author Dennis Cooper. Sontag directed McCourt's first novel, Mawrdew Czgowchwz, to her publisher's attention,[3] while Bloom named a later work, Time Remaining to his influential Western Canon.[6] Mawrdew Czgowchwz was brought back in print in 2002 with a new introduction by Wayne Koestenbaum.



  • Mawrdew Czgowchwz (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1975)
  • Kaye Wayfaring in “Avenged” (stories) (Viking, 1985)
  • Time Remaining (stories) (Knopf, 1993)
  • Delancey's Way (Knopf, 2000)
  • Wayfaring at Waverly in Silverlake (stories) (Knopf, 2002)
  • Now Voyagers (Turtle Point Press, 2008)


  • Queer Street: Rise and Fall of an American Culture, 1947-1985 (W. W. Norton, 2003)
  • Lasting City: The Anatomy of Nostalgia (Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2013)


  1. ^ Queer Street, pg. 5
  2. ^ Southgate, Patsy. "James McCourt: On Divas and Drag Queens". The East Hampton Star. Retrieved November 22, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Foley, Dylan. The Advocate, March 5, 2002 Opera soap: author James McCourt enjoys the encore publication of the zany opera novel he wrote two decades ago
  4. ^ a b http://www.vincentvirga.com/ accessed April 14, 2009
  5. ^ http://drs.library.yale.edu/HLTransformer/HLTransServlet?stylename=yul.ead2002.xhtml.xsl&pid=beinecke:mccourtvirga&clear-stylesheet-cache=yes. Retrieved January 21, 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Bloom, Harold. The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages. Appendixes. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994. Chaotic Canon

External links[edit]