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Republic of Dreams: Greenwich Village: The American Bohemia, 1910-1960 Kindle Edition
The New Yorker Wetzsteon...incisively dissects the contradictions and conflicts...inherent in Village life. But he also evokes its energy and its sense of immense possibility.
Los Angeles Times Book Review Anyone who cares about American culture should read Republic of Dreams.
Newsday Wetzsteon's rich, amusing, inspired history is pure Technicolor...and gives the 21st century reader an unparalleled introduction to America's first true bohemia.
Houston Chronicle A deeply researched and beautifully wrought feast of information and poetics...a sort of Plutarch's Lives of...the obsessed pilgrims who founded the Republic of Dreams. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B000SFSLN0
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (1 November 2007)
- Language : English
- File size : 3247 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 640 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 1,203,303 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from other countries
With those caveats in mind, then, "Republic of Dreams" is still a must-have for anyone interested in New York history or with the rise of twentieth-century radical politics and social libertarianism. Famous Villagers--from Emma Goldman and Eugene O'Neill to Djuna Barnes and Hart Crane to Delmore Schwartz and Dawn Powell--mix it up with lesser-know eccentrics and crazies, including the Baroness, Harry Kemp, Doris the Dope, and Joe Gould (infamous for an unpublished masterwork that probably never existed). The book also gives extensive attention to the succession of journals--especially The Masses, Mother Earth, Liberator, The Dial, Others, and The Little Review--whose enduring national influence belied their modest circulations, editorial squabbles, precarious finances, and legal troubles.
Wetzteon's biographical chapters include hundreds of hilarious, sordid, and sorrowful memories and anecdotes. There's E. E. Cummings screaming across the Patchin Place courtyard, "Are ya still alive, Djuna?" Robert Clairmont, the original deep-pocketed party monster, complained that "the life of pleasure is hard." Dawn Powell lamented, "A woman needed two lovers, one to comfort her for the torment the other caused her." Surveying the landscape of his friends' unconventional tendencies, William Carlos Williams noted that "intellectuals began to intrude on the terrain opened by the lunatic fringe"--and that fringe is well represented here.
If the book has a weakness, it's that Wetzteon does tend to focus on the dismal shadows of the Village's various subcultures. Somebody who had never been to Manhattan might be forgiven for thinking that bohemianism is composed almost entirely of marital squabbles (and the sexual freedom that often caused them), alcoholic binges, and recurrent homelessness. There is a surfeit of nightmares in the "Republic of Dreams"; all too many of its intellects and artists died young or unhappy--or both. And the lucky survivors of each generation mourn the passing of the Village of their youth; bohemia repeatedly loses out to nostalgia. But, if anything, these stories of the Village's unforgettable residents cumulatively prove that for every counterculture that sinks into oblivion or enters the mainstream, there is a new demimonde ready to take its place.