He imagined himself among them now, his own face staring, like theirs, from the makeshift posters on café walls, in the subways.
—David Leavitt, The Lost Language of Cranes

A recent article in Esquire on the power structure of literary New York remarked that there are no “literary hangouts” for people under sixty (“Esquire’s Guide to the Literary Universe,” August 1987). But it all depends on what you mean by “literary.” If we’re to believe Tama Janowitz, the celebrated author of Slaves of New York, there are such things as “literary videos.” So why not “literary cafés” for the young folk? (In the world of fiction, anything is possible!) When The New York Times devoted several glossy pages last spring to “New York’s Spinning Literary Circles”—a sort of...


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