To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Literary Brooklyn: The Writers of Brooklyn and the Story of American City Life Paperback – August 16, 2011
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“Smart…[Hughes] has perceptive things to say about Brooklyn's tangled relationship to American lit. He traces the way writers have absorbed Brooklyn's scruffy, somewhat persecuted mindset...Literary Brooklyn is at its best in the details and quotations Mr. Hughes plucks from Brooklyn writers' lives; his book becomes a pleasure-delivery system.” ―The New York Times
“In a way, the literary history of Brooklyn is like a literary history of America itself -- not because America is like Brooklyn, which it isn't, but because it is a story of a certain set of writers describing what they knew as America came into being, as the country invented a literature of its own...[Hughes] lays in the facts and brightens them with solid literary critique.” ―Los Angeles Times
“Lively...Urban history and literary history often brush up against each other to profound effect.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“The rich history of literary life in "America's first suburb" is very enjoyably explored...Hughes is good at forging connections between the many Brooklyn authors whose stories he tells...even as he gives the arcs of their careers fresh context by setting them against the dramatic ups and downs of the borough they all called home.” ―The Christian Science Monitor
“Highbrow' and 'Brilliant” ―New York Magazine's Approval Matrix
“One of the many fine points in Literary Brooklyn; The Writers of Brooklyn and the Story of American City Life is that for decades writers wanted to escape Brooklyn for the glamour of Manhattan--it was one definition of success--and now they want to go the other direction, not just because of what's happening now but because of all the history.” ―Portland Oregonian
“An engrossing cultural memoir of what some consider our most intriguing borough today.” ―New York Daily News
“They say Brooklyn is the literary navel of the nation right now, but after reading Evan Hughes's book you'll ask, 'Wasn't it always?' It's a richly detailed, beautifully written history.” ―Luc Sante, author of Low Life and Kill All Your Darlings
“If you've ever lived in Brooklyn, this book will make you see your experience in an entirely different and mythic light. And if you're thinking about moving to Brooklyn, this book will make it hard not to rent the U-Haul. Evan Hughes has written an incredibly engaging and thoughtful history of how Brooklyn became the heart of America's most literary city. I stayed up way too late getting to the last page.” ―Tom Bissell, author of Extra Lives and The Father of All Things
“It seems Evan Hughes has read every book by --or about -- every writer who's ever so much as stepped into the borough. Did you know that as young men just beginning to write, Norman Mailer and Arthur Miller lived in the same brownstone, and occasionally eyed each other while getting the mail? Literary Brooklyn is immensely readable, hugely informative, and thoroughly enjoyable. Once here, you won't want to leave.” ―Charles Bock, author of Beautiful Children
“Whether you love Brooklyn from afar or live there, you know it's a critical part of America's artistic heart. In Literary Brooklyn, Evan Hughes tells a moving and important story you haven't heard and shows us how and why literature will continue to thrive in the American city.” ―Touré, author of Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?
“A well-researched urban history book and a comprehensive literary biography that brims with fresh insights.” ―Booklist
“A hybrid of urban history and literary biography and analysis, this engrossing, perceptive book makes a valid case for the richness of Brooklyn as a site of the literary imagination.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Wonderfully illuminating...Hughes charts this tumultuous, two-century urban history through the lives and works of important writers who, for their own reasons and for a time at least, called Brooklyn home. Elegantly, the author slides in and out of eras, identifying the sometimes surprising geographical and spiritual connections among an impressive list of writers...Whether they used it as subject, setting, or inspiration, saw it as a refuge, hideout or merely as a patch of relative green convenient to Manhattan, these writers are part of a rich artistic procession Hughes brings vividly to life.” ―Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Evan Hughes has written articles about literature for such publications as The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, n + 1, and the London Review of Books. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
SunPost Weekly August 11, 2011 John Hood
Forget the suits, bespoke or otherwise. Disregard the hats and the saddle shoes, the custom shirts and the silken ties. For like Walt Whitman I am at heart "one of the roughs." Sure, I chew with mouth closed, mostly, and can manage all of the other manners one has to summon in so-called polite society. Nevertheless (again citing Whitman) "I am the mate and companion of people, all just as fathomless and immortal as myself." In other words, even in pretense I'm aware of my position. Okay, so maybe the "voices of the diseased and despairing, and of thieves and dwarfs" are but a mumble when they come through me. Still, they're there all right. That's why when I see a place remade for the safe and sound, I get irked. Then I get the hell outta town.
It happened to me in New York's East Village, and later on the Lower East Side. It happened again on South Beach. And were it not for the economic crisis currently affecting the country, it could well have happened in the working class enclave called Silver Bluff, where I now live amid a sea of folks "just as fathomless and immortal as myself." No, "they do not know how immortal. But I know." And (said the fathead) that's what counts.
All of the above is merely a roundabout way for me to mark the loss (and the gain) which has plagued the Borough of Brooklyn. On the one hand, it's become the much-ridiculed haven for way too many hipsters. On the other, it possesses a legacy that will endure as long as we do. In Evan Hughes' Literary Brooklyn (Holt $16) that legacy is writ as large and as forceful as the writers who've left it behind.Read more ›
This was exactly the right book. I read it right there, as slowly as my curiosity about the next page allowed, until the pages ran out. Three days later, I read it completely again, and felt even more satisfied. (That's one personal acid-test of a good book.) Although I live in a tiny rural town, my father's favorite borough is up on the bookshelf anytime I wish to trip the light fantastic again, in the city that first taught me how basically GOOD people are in their hearts.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As others have said, this book presents a fine overview of Brooklyn related literature and history As Hughes says it is "... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Fred Cheyunski
Very interesting tale of the changes that Brooklyn went through over the past decades and the history is tied in to the fascinating stories of the selected Brooklyn authors. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Judith A. Barbour
It's interesting to know the way famous writers had lived in Brooklin.
For me it would be great if there were maps or illustrations showing
the places where they lived... Read more
Urban connections is a theme that runs through the mini-biographies that make up this interesting but flawed literary history. Read morePublished on September 5, 2012 by James Henderson
Hughes' book is a fun portrait of the lives of Brooklyn authors. The anecdotes, quotes and descriptions of the authors' characters make it seem like we as readers are there along... Read morePublished on May 21, 2012 by Susanna Zaraysky