Tuesday, April 4, 2017

the last book I ever read (Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, excerpt four)

from Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin:

Still, for a writer there was probably no better place to be. E. E. Cummings was still living in his studio on Patchin Place; Dawn Powell, who wrote a series of novels set in the Village, was another longtime resident. Mary McCarthy lived there briefly in 1936 and 1937, after her divorce from her first husband, enthusiastically embracing the life of a single girl in the city (complete with tiny studio apartment) before settling down temporarily with Philip Rahv and then Edmund Wilson. (Of a dinner party at which whe met Lillian Hellman for the first time, she recalled that “[t]he guests at those dinners were mostly Stalinists, which was what smart, successful people in that New York world were.”) Delmore Schwartz would return in 1945, declaring that it was “1919 all over again.” Partisan Review made its headquarters on Astor Place; Meyer Schapiro lectured on art at the New School for Social Research on West Twelfth Street; and the headquarters of the Boni Brothers, who published Upton Sinclair, D. H. Lawrence, and Thornton Wilder, were on Fifth Avenue near Thirteenth Street. “The city had never looked so bright and frisky before,” commented Alfred Kazin. Jackson’s story “The Villager,” written in 1944, sums up the modd: “When she was twenty-three she had come to New York from a small town upstate because she wanted to be a dancer, and because everyone who wanted to study dancing or sculpture or bookbinding had come to Greenwich Village then.”

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