The Greenwich Village Reader: Fiction, Poetry, and Reminiscences

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9780815411482: The Greenwich Village Reader: Fiction, Poetry, and Reminiscences
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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.

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About the Author:

June Skinner Sawyers has held a variety of jobs in the publishing industry, working as an editor, freelance writer, and publicist. She is a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune and other publications. She is the author of Celtic Music: A Complete Guide and editor of The Road North: 300 Years of Classic Scottish Travel Writing. She lives in Chicago.

Review:

A charming and nostalgic collection for those with a place in their heart for our own Rive Gauche. (Kirkus Reviews)

The multifarious but distinct flavor of the district shines through in selections (some presented in full but many of them excerpted) as varied as a Djuna Barnes article on some downtown hotspots, Sinclair Lewis's short story "Hobohemia," Willa Cather's Washington Square short story "Coming, Aphrodite!," a Lionel Trilling piece on Edmund Wilson, Howard Smith's Village Voice article on Jack Kerouac, Joyce Johnson's memoir Minor Characters and poems by Frank O'Hara. (Publishers Weekly)

The selections, which are taken from authors who have lived in or written about the Village, begin with James McCabe's 1872 description of Bleecker Street and end with Barney Rossett's 2001 memoir. ... Extras that round out the set nicely and add much to its usefulness include a brief history, a chronology, a map with literary landmarks, lists of Village writers, a list of fiction and movies set in the Village, literary sites, and further reading. ... A remarkable picture of a remarkable place emerges. (Library Journal)

For the richness and variety of the selections, The Greenwich Village Reader transcends all previous books about the subject, demonstrating that a compendious compilation can sometimes treat a subject more throughly than a volume written by only one person. (Rain Taxi)

Incontrovertible is that Greenwich Village is, as the Greenwich Village Reader puts it, "America's most seminal literary landscape." (Robert Cross Greenwich Time)

Explores that landscape for more than 700 pages and probably could have expanded into another volume or two. It contains views of Village life-and-death culled from the works of nearly 70 authors and poets (Robert Cross Chicago Tribune)

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