ALL-NIGHT PARTY: The Women of Bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem, 1913–1930

Andrea Barnet, Author . Algonquin $18.95 (260p) ISBN 978-1-56512-381-6

With a neatly composed set of intersecting biographies, journalist Barnet engagingly illustrates the extraordinary period of cultural freedom for American women that came after whalebone corsets of the Victorian era were loosed and before the privations of the Depression sucked the gumption out of the nation. Barnet uses New York as the red-hot locus where these women met, mingled, made love and made art. At the book's heart are eight creators. In Greenwich Village, modernist poet and artist Mina Loy wrote her manifesto "Aphorisms on Futurism." Nearby, the winsome Edna St. Vincent Millay burned her candle at both ends in a cold-water flat, breaking cultural rules and several suitors' hearts. Editors and lovers Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap constructed the influential arts magazine Little Review , which climaxed with the serial publication of Joyce's Ulysses . Uptown, in Harlem, blues divas like the wild Bessie Smith and coy Ethel Waters crooned to audiences of blacks and whites alike. A'Lelia Walker, the richest black woman in America, hosted a salon where, "besides the usual throng of artists, dancers, jazz musicians, poets, journalists, critics, and novelists, one might see English Rothschilds, French princesses, Russian grand dukes, mobsters, prizefighters, men of the stock exchange and Manhattan's social elite, elegant homosexuals, Village bohemians, white movie celebrities, and smartly dressed employees of the U.S. Post Office." Barnet's treatment of this scintillating era is as lively and appealing as the women she's writing about. B&w photos. (Mar. 26)

Forecast: March is National Women's History Month, and national publicity and promos around that time, coupled with national advertising, could help this book find a market.

Reviewed on: 12/22/2003
Release date: 01/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-56512-702-9
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