Cover image for Bronx accent : a literary and pictorial history of the borough
Bronx accent : a literary and pictorial history of the borough
Ultan, Lloyd.
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiv, 311 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS549.N5 B86 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



For the last three hundred years, and through all its social and economic transformations, The Bronx has been a major literary center that many prominent writers have called home.

Bringing together a variety of past literary figures as well as emerging talents, this comprehensive book captures the Zeitgeist of the neighborhood through the eyes of its writers. Included are selections from the writings of Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain, James Baldwin, James Fenimore Cooper, Tom Wolfe, Herman Wouk, Theodore Dreiser, Washington Irving, Clifford Odets, Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley, Edgar Allan Poe, Chaim Potok, Kate Simon, Leon Trotsky, and Sholem Aleichem.

Lloyd Ultan and Barbara Unger place the literature of these and other writers in historical context and reproduce one hundred vintage photographs that bring the writings to life. Filtered through the imaginations of authors of different times, ethnic groups, social classes, and literary styles, the borough of The Bronx emerges not only as a shaper of destinies and lives, but as an important literary mecca.

Author Notes

Lloyd Ultan is the author of six books, including The Beautiful Bronx, 1930-1950 and The Bronx in the Innocent Years: 1890-1925. He is a professor of history at Fairleigh Dickinson University and has been appointed the Bronx Borough Historian.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Ultan and Unger chronicle the rise, fall, and rebirth of New York City's northernmost borough in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by people who live or lived in the Bronx, or who simply chose to write about it. While the prose, of course, is excerpted most of the poems are presented in their entirety. Taken together, the pieces, with additional, explanatory text by the authors, give a good narrative ranging from the Bronx's colonial period through the various waves of immigration and consolidation with Manhattan and the other boroughs. What's more, you get a good sense of how the many destructive forces converged to wreck the area, and how the people's stubborn spirit would not let all of their beloved neighborhoods turn to wasteland. Edgar Allan Poe, Sholom Aleichem, Grace Paley, Cynthia Ozick, James Baldwin, and E. L. Doctorow are just a few of the writers represented in this book. As the subtitles declares, it's also a pictorial history, and the majority of the 97 black-and-white illustrations give you a good idea of what the Bronx looked like way back in its heyday. --Frank Caso

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
1 Genesis: The Colonial and Revolutionary Bronx, 1639-1800p. 1
2 Out of Town: The Suburban Bronx, 1800-1898p. 21
3 "Like Country": The Urbanization of The Bronx, 1898-1919p. 46
4 A Step Up: The Bronx in Boom Times, 1919-1929p. 78
5 A Step Left: The Bronx in the Great Depression, 1929-1940p. 106
6 The Bronx Home Front: The War Years, 1936-1950p. 132
7 The Perils of Prosperity: The Bronx in the Postwar Years, 1946-1961p. 158
8 The Urban Crisis: The Bronx in the Years of Change and Unrest, 1961-1980p. 192
9 Devastation: The Bronx Is Burning, 1965-1991p. 220
10 Coping: The Bronx Endures, 1961-1988p. 240
11 The Phoenix: The Bronx Rises from the Ashes, 1975-2000p. 271
Indexp. 299