More than any other neighborhood in America, New York City's Greenwich Village has played a leading role in the development of over 130 years of art and culture. In The Greenwich Village Reader, editor June Skinner Sawyers gathers for the first time writings chronicling the changes the Village has seen over the years, from the late 1800s to the present day.
Over sixty unique voices tell of their varied experiences of the Village in letters, articles, poems, excerpts from novels, and memoirs. Contents of the book include: Henry James recalling his return to the Village years after writing Washington Square; Djuna Barnes explaining the Village's mystique to the rest of the world; fiction set in Washington Square by Willa Cather and Edith Wharton; Max Eastman remembering his days as the editor of The Masses; Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson on the Beats that called the Village home in the 50s; Edmund White writing of the days preceding the Stonewall Riots; Madison Smartt Bell describing a Washington Square heroin dealer from the 80s; and many other writings on Greenwich Village's gentry, bohemians, flappers, poets, immigrants, musicians, radicals, and wide-eyed visitors.
Even for all of its transformations, Greenwich Village has always been able to embrace a unique mix of residents. The Greenwich Village Reader shows how this section of New York, one that has left an enduring mark on its inhabitants and the rest of the nation, is unlike any other place in the country.