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December 23, 2008
About Allen Churchill's
"The Improper Bohemians" (1959) 1959? Is this yet another
attempt at cashing in on the
The tale of Greenwich Village Beatnik craze, after the year
bohemia from 1910 or so, on of "On the Road", 1957?
to around WWII.
Focuses on the stars of the scene --
John Reed, Eugene O'Neill, Edna
St. Vincent Milay -- but it also
discusses many of the lesser leading For example,
lights, including some barely "Babs", who
remembered... lectured on
the evils of
Churchill never neglects to prostitution,
explain where the funding and offered to
came from, who the editors fight it by
were, and so on... having sex with
any man present.
I noted with some surprise
that I knew next to nothing
about the scene during the The 1920s at least
1900s and 1910s. I knew enough of to
know I needed to know
But the 1900s and 1910s were more ("The Jazz Age",
such a blank for me that I "The Lost Generation").
wasn't even much aware that
there was a blank there... (I've read very little
BLANK_VERSE Fitzgerald, knew very
(I've probably read more little about the Lost
books from the 1860s than Generation scene in Paris
from the 1910s.) beyond Hemingway's "A
Moveable Feast", etc)...
In broad outline:
Allen Churchill describes a very
serious, intellectual Greenwich Village
bohemia, an underground where socialist
politics were all the rage.
A transition then happens where things
go a little dada, things become a bit Some of the former
less serious, and the underground gets residents then bail
transformed into a tourist attraction on the Village for
of sorts. Paris, becoming
(or merging with)
Then the 20s "spree" kicks in, and the Lost Generation.
everything, everywhere gets hyper
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