This riveting book tells the story of an amazing group of people -- writers, artists, jewelry designers, actors, journalists -- who coalesced into a community in the glory days of the 1920's. Anyone who loves New Orleans, the Roaring Twenties, art, the theater, or literature will want to read this entertaining acccount.
The circle of artists, writers, socialites, and newspaper reporters that coalesced in the French Quarter in the early 1920s was vital to the preservation of the area, and the eventual designation as a historic district. This circle has been widely celebrated, but the details of their lives at the time and afterwords are little known. Mr. Reed has distilled a mountain of scholarship into a very readable volume that discusses first the "The Circle" as a group, and its context; then thumbnail biographies of each member throughout the remainder of their lives.
Overall a good read - a window into the bohemian circles of 1920's French Quarter New Orleans. The author takes pains to show how the coming together of place and people allowed a unique art scene to flourish - if only briefly - in the aftermath of WWI in America's most European city. The scene included William Faulkner, Oliver LaFarge and a host of regional artists and writers. It's a brief, though well-written view into a vanished world. The only reason I didn't give it five stars was I thought it was a little too brief!
John Shelton Reed never disappoints. Here, one of the most perceptive observers of the South takes on the artistic circle of friends that formed around Sherwood Anderson, William Faulkner, and William Spratling in 1920s New Orleans. Worth reading for anyone interested in Southern history, New Orleans, or Southern literature. Almost gave this five stars, but honestly, I think some of Reed's other books are better.
Virtually the only chronicle of the personalities: the artists, writers, philanthropists, photographers, preservationists, etc. and the times that led to saving the French Quarter. Wish there were more material but this was prepared from lectures given on the topic. I wish there were more but the book does point the way for others to continue. Finally, someone writes of the enormous contributions of William Ratliff Irby in saving many French Quarter landmarks and his part in the French Quarter Revival. This puts "flesh & blood" on those personalities responsible in that exciting time. Loved it!
John put the boogy in the story telling of 43 characters that comprise the picture he paints of the artistic movement that occurred in New Orleans in the 1920s. Like Paris, New Orleans was waiting for the next signficant opportunity to advance culture. John serves it up for us in Dixie Bohemia. Enchante Vieux Carre!
Great encyclopedia of New Orleans Modernism. I thought it was just going to be more of a narrative all the way through, so I was surprised when it switched to individual profiles, but I think it's extremely valuable for scholars of American modernism.
I had to read this for a field experience class where we studied literature written by authors who were greatly influenced by life in New Orleans and life on the Mississippi River. We then took several tours through New Orleans. On those tours, our group was able to learn a little more and impressed the tour guides because we had already been exposed to much of the literary history of New Orleans during the Prohibition Era. It was fun to imagine one of the tales about Faulkner's game of rooftop tag during one of the wild parties that he and his roommate threw. This book is an interesting look at the Famous Creoles of New Orleans!