The Man Who Would Marry Susan Sontag: And Other Intimate Portraits of the Bohemian Era

Edward Field, Author . Univ. of Wisconsin $29.95 (284p) ISBN 978-0-299-21320-6

Poet Field has been in the midst of Greenwich Village's bohemian life since 1946, when he moved there, fresh from the armed forces, at the age of 22. These 25 short essays and sketches ramble nicely over the years and through his friendships to form a memoir that is more nostalgic than intellectually vigorous. The thread that connects most of these chatty stories is Field's close relationship with the enigmatic, unstable Alfred Chester, a writer of elegant, rarefied fiction who throughout his life and after his death in 1971 has maintained a cult status as a writer's writer. It's Chester, with his intense relationships with Cynthia Ozick, Harriet Sohmers and Susan Sontag—whom he, possibly skirting a mental breakdown, had decided to marry even though he was a homosexual—who takes up the emotional bulk of Field's memoir and whose vivid image lingers. While Field write of his own career, it is always modestly. At times elusively vague but often very charming, this volume will be of serious interest to anyone intrigued by New York literary life of the 1950s and '60s. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/21/2005
Release date: 12/01/2005
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-299-21323-7
Paperback - 284 pages - 978-0-299-21324-4
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!