New York’s Left Bank

*This text is a sample of writing from my postgraduate thesis project. My project was a reader in which I selected five original essays from the post-war American travel magazine, Holiday, introducing and contextualizing writing from the 1940s – 1960s. In this instance, an excerpt of my introduction to an essay called ‘Brooklyn Heights: A Personal Memoir’ about living in a borough other than Manhattan, written by Truman Capote in Holiday’s February 1959 issue.




Any tale of journey worth its salt draws to a close upon the protagonist returning home. Home, as a literary concept, has a particular role throughout a narrative: the overwhelming desire for home and hearth – of the familiar, the domestic, of belonging – is what keeps the traveler traveling, the soldier soldiering, the pilgrim pressing on. We may finally sleep soundly once Odysseus reaches Ithaca and returns to the arms of Penelope; and take heart when Frodo Baggins at last arrives back home to the Shire. Truman Capote’s written account of his home in Brooklyn, featured in Holiday’s February 1959 issue, speaks to the value of a place of one’s own; and Brooklyn has long been regarded the home of America’s literary core. It has not, however, always been as outwardly popular as it is today.