From 1924 to 1931, the British novelist John Cowper Powys lived with his partner Phyllis Playter on Patchin Place in Greenwich Village. He made a living by giving paid public lectures on literature to large audiences in all but two states of the U.S. from 1904, when he was 32 years old; the schedule was exhausting. Once established in a tiny apartment in No. 4, he embarked on writing his first major novel, Wolf Solent. How has this little street he lived on survived almost unchanged, from the 1840s to the present day in a city like New York, and how did living there impact Powys?

Among the low-rent boarding houses were home to very many writers, including long-term residents such as the poet E. E. Cummings (from 1924 to 1962) and the novelist Djuna Barnes (1940 to 1982), and short-term occupants including the political activist and writer John Reed (not long before his death in 1920). Several other major writers had connections with residents of Patchin Place; these include Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), Theodore Dreiser and Ezra Pound. They have bequeathed to us vivid descriptions of what life was like for the little street’s residents, particularly during the 1920s and 1930s when Greenwich Village was at the heart of the modernist movement in literature.

About the Speaker:

Raymond Crozier is a Honorary Professor of Psychology in Cardiff University, Wales, previously Head of Psychology in the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. His book, Patchin Place: The Powyses and Literary New York, was in England in 2022.

Monday, March 18, 2024
6:00 pm

Zoom Webinar


Pre-Registration Required

Click here to watch the recording of this past program