On a Saturday in New York City in 1912, around the wooden tables of a popular Greenwich Village restaurant, a group of women gathered, all of them convinced that they were going to change the world. It was the first meeting of “Heterodoxy,” a secret social club. Its members were passionate advocates of free love, equal marriage, and easier divorce. They were socialites and socialists; reformers and revolutionaries; artists, writers, and scientists. Their club, at the heart of America’s bohemia, was a springboard for parties, performances, and radical politics. But it was the women’s extraordinary friendships that made their unconventional lives possible, as they supported each other in pushing for a better world. In Hotbed, author Joanna Scutts illuminates the dazzling story of the Greenwich Village feminists who blazed the trail for the movement’s most radical ideas.
Joanna Scutts is a literary critic and cultural historian. She is the author of Hotbed: Bohemian New York and the Secret Club that Sparked Modern Feminism, and The Extra Woman: How Marjorie Hillis Led a Generation of Women to Live Alone and Like It (2017). Her book reviews, profiles, and critical essays have appeared in publications in the US and UK, including The New York Times, Guardian, Washington Post, Times Literary Supplement, Paris Review, Slate, and the New Yorker online, among many other venues. As a researcher and curator at the New York Historical Society, she helped plan and launch a new Center for Women’s History in 2017.
Originally from London, she holds a B.A. in English from King’s College, Cambridge, an M.A. in Modern English Literature from Sussex University, and a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in New York, where she now lives with her husband and son.