Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Eighth Street Bookshop

The Eighth Street Bookshop, run by brothers Eli and Ted Wilentz, is one of the now-defunct businesses that make an appearance in Maeve Brennan’s The Long-Winded Lady. The store closed in 1979.The above advertisement appeared in the Evergreen Review 19 (July–August 1961). My copy is a used-book store find.

RealityStudio, a site devoted to the work of William Burroughs, has excellent evocations of the Eighth Street Bookshop by Jed Birmingham and Bill Reed. An excerpt from Reed:

Eighth Street’s regular clientele included Edward Albee, Uta Hagen, Herbert Berghof, Susan Sontag, Irving Howe, the curmudgeonly Joseph Campbell, essayist-novelist Albert Murray (every day), author-activist Michael Harrington, cartoonist William Steig, New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell, poet-translator (later, MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient) Richard Howard, and Alger Hiss, also the store’s station[e]ry supplier. . . .

Nearly every time you turned around at Eighth Street found you rubbing literary stardust out of your eyes.
A related post
From the Evergreen Review

comments: 2

Bill Reed said...

Until JUST NOW-3/29/2013-I wondered if anyone had ever read my 8th Street memoir. Somewhat curiously, I believe, I have never received a single email about it. Oh. . .I take that back. Sean Wilentz, Eli's son, wrote me a rather cranky email one time. But that's just about it. Probably thought I was writing a put-down of his dad. But Eli, in the final analysis, was a tender loving soul. I could tell you stories. Thanks for your kind words.

Michael Leddy said...

And thank you, Bill, for your evocation of a world I would love to have known.