"Brother, Can You Spare a Room," my essay about Thomas Butler Gunn's 1857 book The Physiology of New York Boarding-Houses, appears in the 29 March 2009 issue of the New York Times Book Review. There's also a blog post about it on Paper Cuts. In buying the book itself, you have the option of the Cornell University Library facsimile, which has all the illustrations (browsable online here), or the Rutgers University Press reprint, which has an introduction, explanatory end notes, and a sample of the illustrations. The woodcuts featured with my essay in the Times illustrate (1) the joy of sharing a bed with people who lie "on their backs, with their knees making a pyramid of the bed-clothes . . . [and] moan all night like broken-hearted ring-doves," (2) German boarders, and (3) the Landlady Who Drinks.
One thought on “The joy of sharing”
Read your great article just after reading a series of Lafcadio Hearn sketches: "Complaint of a Creole Boarding-House Keeper"; "The Boarder's Reply"; "A Kentucky Colonel Renting Rooms"; "The Restless Boarder"; "Furnished Rooms" — etc., etc….
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