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New York holds a special place in America's national mythology as both the gateway to the USA and as a diverse, vibrant cultural center distinct from the rest of the nation. From the international atmosphere of the Dutch colony New Amsterdam, through the expansion of the city in the nineteenth century, to its unique appeal to artists and writers in the twentieth, New York has given its writers a unique perspective on American culture. This Companion explores the range of writing and performance in the city, celebrating Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Edith Wharton, Eugene O Neill, and Allen Ginsberg among a host of authors who have contributed to the city's rich literary and cultural history. Illustrated and featuring a chronology and guide to further reading, this book is the ideal guide for students of American literature as well as for all who love New York and its writers.