American Moderns by Christine Stansell
Bohemian New York and the Creation of a New Century

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Synopsis

A brilliant account of the American bohemians whose experiments in living, writing, and loving created the modern world and made New York its capital.

In the early years of the twentieth century, an exuberant band of talented individualists living in a shabby neighborhood called Greenwich Village set out to change the world. Committed to free speech, free love, and politically engaged art, they swept away sexual prudery, stodgy bourgeois art, and political conservatism as they clamorously declared the birth of the new.

Christine Stansell offers the first comprehensive history of this legary period. She takes us deep into the downtown bohemia, which brought together creative dissenters from all walks of life: hobos and Harvard men, society matrons and immigrant Jews, wobblies and New Women, poets and anarchists. And she depicts their lyrical hopes for the century they felt they were sponsoring-a radiant vision of modernity, both egalitarian and artful, that flourished briefly, poignantly, until America entered the First World War and patriotism trumped self-expression.
 

About Christine Stansell

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Christine Stansell is the Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor in United States History at the University of Chicago. She is also the author of "City of Women: Sex and Class in New York City, 1789-1860", and her essays and reviews appear regularly in the "New Republic".
 
Published May 3, 2000 by Metropolitan Books. 432 pages
Genres: History. Non-fiction

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And even though they generally ignored black aspirations, Stansell argues that the bohemians created ""the first full-bodied alternative to an established cultural elite,"" which undermined ""the smug faith that culture was the domain of the well-born and tasteful"" and dug ""channels between hig...

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