Midnight Cowboy By James Leo Herlihy


Pursuing his dream of becoming a male prostitute for rich women, Joe Buck moves from Texas to New York—and winds up on the streets, working as a gay prostitute instead. The basis for the Academy Award-winning 1969 movie starring Dustin Hoffman, this book is a surprising coming-of-age tale dealing with themes of loneliness, isolation, and the loss of innocence.


James Leo Herlihy

James Leo Herlihy was born in 1927 in Detroit, Michigan to a working class family. After serving in World War II, Herlihy studied art, literature, and music at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, whose faculty had boasted such luminaries as William De Kooning and John Cage. After a professor told Herlihy that he had no future as a writer, the disillusioned Herlihy turned his attention to theater, where he met with considerable success and found acting roles in more than fifty plays over the span of several years. But Herlihy continued writing fiction despite the discouragement he had received and in 1960 he published All Fall Down, a largely critically acclaimed work which was later adapted for film. In 1965 he published Midnight Cowboy, which cemented his reputation as a serious writer. After the success of Midnight Cowboy, Herlihy retreated from the public eye and turned his attention to teaching. He took creative writing posts at the City College of New York, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Southern California. Herlihy died in Los Angeles in 1993 from an overdose of sleeping medication.

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