Van Loon pp 59-70 | Cite as

Life in the Village (1918–1920)

  • Cornelis A. van Minnen
Part of the The World of the Roosevelts book series (WOOROO)


Greenwich village is a state of mind rather than a state of streets,” Ladies’ Home Journal informed its readers in 1920. The literary critic Malcolm Cowley reflecting on his own years there thought that it “was not only a place, a mood, a way of life: like all Bohemias, it was also a doctrine,” which propagated the ideas of liberty, self-expression, female equality, free love, and the intense enjoyment of life for the moment. This area of Manhattan has been called “the home of half the talent and half the eccentricity in the country,” and “the place where everything happens first.” As one Villager put it, “everything started in the Village except Prohibition.” For a good part of the twentieth century, nearly every major American writer and artist lived in the Village at one time or another. The Village, Cowley wrote, was a cheap place to live in the city where young writers hoped to be published. For those belonging to “the proletariat of the arts,” Greenwich Village was not only a cheap place to live but also the incubator for American culture and art.1


Bryn Mawr Young Writer Home Journal Free Love Diplomatic Post 
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Copyright information

© Cornelis A. van Minnen 2005

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  • Cornelis A. van Minnen

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