On the Bowery

On the Bowery

Confronting Homelessness in American Society

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288 pages, 15 photos

"…a skillful and detailed analysis of nineteenth-century literary efforts to enter the world of the Bowery. Above all, Stephen Crane scholarship is the beneficiary."—American Literature

"At a time when thousands in city after city live utterly marginal, forsaken lives, we all need to know that there is, alas, a tradition for such a manner of living, one witnessed or evolved or called upon, generation after generation, by our writers and social observers. This is a lively and edifying book."—Robert Coles

As both theme and place, the Bowery has been rich in meaning, evocative in association, long in development, and representative of the inherent conflict between culture and subculture. This award-winning interdisciplinary study puts in perspective the social meaning and cultural significance of the Bowery from both historical and contemporary outlooks, spanning the fields of American literature and social history, culture studies, symbolic anthropology, ethnography, and social psychology. On the Bowery has special relevance in providing continuity for the systems of thought and methods of intervention that influence responses to the modern condition of homelessness in American cities today.

Table of contents: 




Chapter 1: Background Circumference

Chapter 2: Mystification

Chapter 3: Descent and Discovery

Chapter 4: Bowery Tales


Appendix / Ethnography, a Retrospective


Selected Bibliography