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by Sinclair Lewis

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Sinclair Lewis in Greenwich Village

Sinclair Lewis became famous for satirizing the conventional middle class of small-town America in books that began with Main Street (1920) and Babbitt (1922).

But before he wrote these books, he satirized the unconventional Bohemians of Greenwich Village in the novella Hobohemia (1917). This little-known novella, which has never before been published as a book, is essential to understanding how Lewis’ thinking developed - and, more important, is great fun to read.

Lewis lived in Greenwich Village when it was first becoming a community of artists, writers, socialists, and ne’er-do-wells, who were attracted there by low rents and whose behavior baffled the impoverished Italian and Irish immigrant families who lived there at the time.

In addition to Lewis’ novella, this book includes an introduction describint the prominent denizens of Greenwich Village who were the basis of Lewis’ major characters. Mabel Dodge was a wealthy heiress whose “Evenings” attracted up to one hundred people and who helped to organize the famous Armory Show of 1913, which brought modernist art to America; she is the basis of the character Jane Saffron. Floyd Dell was editor of The Masses, America’s most prominent socialist magazine at the time; he is the basis of the character Jerry McCabe, editor of the magazine Direct Action.

Get a taste of America’s first Bohemia, Greenwich Village before World War I, by reading this charming and funny book.