All-Night Party: The Women of Bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem, 1913-1930

All-Night Party: The Women of Bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem, 1913-1930

by Andrea Barnet

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Overview

They were smart. Sassy. Daring. Exotic. Eclectic. Sexy. And influential. One could call them the first divas—and they ran absolutely wild. They were poets, actresses, singers, artists, journalists, publishers, baronesses, and benefactresses. They were thinkers and they were drinkers. They eschewed the social conventions expected of them—to be wives and mothers—and decided to live on their own terms. In the process, they became the voices of a new, fierce feminine spirit.

There's Mina Loy, a modernist poet and much-photographed beauty who traveled in pivotal international art circles; blues divas Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters; Edna St. Vincent Millay, the lyric poet who, with her earthy charm and passion, embodied the '20s ideal of sexual daring; the avant-garde publishers Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap; and the wealthy hostesses of the salons, A'Lelia Walker and Mabel Dodge. Among the supporting cast are Emma Goldman, Isadora Duncan, Ma Rainey, Margaret Sanger, and Gertrude Stein.

Andrea Barnet's fascinating accounts of the emotional and artistic lives of these women—together with rare black-and-white photographs, taken by photographers such as Berenice Abbott and Man Ray—capture the women in all their glory.

This is a history of the early feminists who didn't set out to be feminists, a celebration of the rebellious women who paved the way for future generations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781565123816
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 01/03/2004
Pages: 282
Sales rank: 686,091
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.64(d)

About the Author

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, and educated at the University of Pennsylvania and at Harvard, Andrea Barnet has been a regular reviewer for the New York Times Book Review since 1985. Her articles on art and culture have appeared in Smithsonian Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Mirabella, Working Mother, Avenue, and Architectural Record. She lives in New York City and is married to the painter Kit White. They have one daughter.

Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsXI
Cast of CharactersXV
Introduction: Wild in Pursuit1
1Mina Loy: a Modern Self-Experiment15
2Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap: Life for Art's Sake59
3Edna St. Vincent Millay: Imprisoned in the Personal89
4Entertaining Bohemia: the Hostesses and Their Salons135
5Bessie Smith: 'Tain't Nobody's Business if I Do!161
6Ethel Waters: Am I Blue?193
Epilogue: the End of the Party221
Notes227
Bibliography247
Illustration Credits251
Index255

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All-Night Party: The Women of Bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem, 1913-1930 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
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What a group of women they were, nonpareils all. They tossed aside convention to illuminate a period marked by freedom of expression, a disregard for racial barriers, and amazing creativity. The Victorian Ea was on its way out, and they were high kicking it aside. The years 1913 - 1930 in New York City were described as a period of 'Going Public with one's animal nature.' This was especially true in Greenwich Village and Harlem where white bohemians joined Black Americans in a celebration of jazz and the blues. Consider just a few in Andrea Barnet's remarkable cast of characters: Bessie Smith, Isadora Duncan, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Sanger, Gertrude Stein, and that's only a sampling. Each chapter focuses on a different woman - her life, her pals, and her contributions to this electric change. Mina Loy was an artist and poet. British born she lived in Florence with her husband and two children, ages 9 and 7. When her husband ran off with his mistress Loy determined that she must chart her own course and, in order to do this, she must go to New York City. Leaving her children behind with their Italian nurse she set sail. Tall and extremely attractive she was an eye-catching beauty whose poetry would be widely published. Edna St, Vincent Millay, a young Maine poet already published in her mid twenties, set tongues wagging with her celebration of the Armistice in 1918 - she and two fellows rode back and forth all night on the Staten Island ferry, chasing along beaches the trio drank jug wine until dawn. At that time Millay returned to her cold water flat and sat down to furiously pound out more poetry. Who could forget Bessie Smith, all six feet and 200+ pounds of her? 'The funk is flyin'' was one of her favorite phrases and she happily ate at a generously laden kitchen table, washing down her food with homemade liquor. With more than 50 unforgettable photographs and an exciting, comprehensive text Barnet has painted a colorful portrait of the Harlem Renaissance and the women who made it happen. Equal parts history and biography, 'All-Night Party' is not to be missed. - Gail Cooke