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Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoirby Anatole Broyard
Synopses & Reviews
"Nineteen forty-six was a good time — perhaps the best time — in the twentieth century. The war was over and there was a terrific sense of coming back, of repossessing life. Rents were cheap, restaurants were cheap, and it seemed to me that happiness itself might be cheaply had."
Broyard made his first bid for happiness by moving in with a young painter, the difficult and challenging Sheri Donatti — a protegee of Anais Nin — who never wore underpants and who "embodied the new trends in art, sex, and psychosis." Broyard tells their story; by turns comic and poignant, while describing along the way his meetings with Caitlan and Dylan Thomas, Delmore Schwartz, Dwight MacDonald, Maya Deren, William Gaddis, and other writers and artists just beginning their careers. He opens a bookstore on Cornelia Street ("If it hadn't been for books we would have been entirely at the mercy of sex. Books steadied us, they gave us gravity."). He goes to the New School and listens to Eric Fromm, Karen Horney and Meyer Shapiro ("I went to him as students, twenty years later, would go to India."). He tries going to a psychoanalysist ("I never gave him a chance. l had a literature rather than a personality.").
In dazzling prose, Broyard captures with crystalline clarity the feeling of a particular time and place "when everything mattered, everything was serious." With economy, style, wit, flair, and astounding powers of observation, Broyard has left us a most remarkable memoir.
"Brilliant, funny, penetrating observations on life and culture in N.Y.C. after WWII." Kirkus Reviews
“If you’ve ever been young, ever lived in or wanted to live in Greenwich Village, ever loved books or sex or both, you’ll savor this memoir.” Detroit Free Press
“Full of Broyard’s wit, compassion and rich insight.…His mind, his aesthetic, his view of the world, shimmer brightly in this memoir.” Chicago Tribune
“Seductive, ardently written…a valentine with barbs.” Washington Post Book World
What Hemingway's A Moveable Feast did for Paris in the 1920s, this charming yet undeceivable memoir does for Greenwich Village in the late 1940s. In 1946, Anatole Broyard was a dapper, earnest, fledgling avant-gardist, intoxicated by books, sex, and the neighborhood that offered both in such abundance. Stylish written, mercurially witty, imbued with insights that are both affectionate and astringent, this memoir offers an indelible portrait of a lost bohemia.
About the Author
Anatole Broyard (19201990) was an American literary critic for The New York Times. In addition to his reviews and columns, he published several books during his lifetime, and his most autobiographical works, Intoxicated By My Illness and Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir were published after his death.
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