Bohemianism  

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-[[Image:L'Absinthe (1876) - Edgar Degas.jpg|thumb|right|200px|''[[L'Absinthe]]'' ([[1876]]) - [[Edgar Degas]]]]+[[Image:L'Absinthe (1876) - Edgar Degas.jpg|thumb|left|200px|''[[L'Absinthe]]'' (1876) - Edgar Degas]]
 +{| class="toccolours" style="float: left; margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 2em; font-size: 85%; background:#c6dbf7; color:black; width:30em; max-width: 40%;" cellspacing="5"
 +| style="text-align: left;" |
 +Moi qui criait famine<br>
 +Et toi qui posais nue<br>
 + 
 +I, who screamed hunger<br>
 +and you who posed nude<br>
 + 
 +--"[[La Bohème (Charles Aznavour song)|La Bohème]]" (1966) by Charles Aznavour
 +|}
 +[[Image:A Paris street - set design for Act II of La bohème by Adolf Hohenstein.jpg|thumb|right|200px|A [[Paris street]] - [[set design]] for Act II of Puccini's ''[[La bohème]]'' by [[Adolfo Hohenstein]].]]
 +[[Image:Mona Lisa Smoking a Pipe.jpg|thumb|right|200px|''[[Mona Lisa Smoking a Pipe]]'' by [[Eugène Bataille]]]]
 +[[Image:The Poor Poet by Carl Spitzweg.jpg|thumb|right|200px|''[[The Poor Poet]]'' (1839) is a painting by [[Carl Spitzweg]]]]
 +[[Image:A painting of the English romantic poet Thomas Chatterton, believed to have killed himself with arsenic in 1770.jpg |thumb|right|200px|''[[The Death of Chatterton]]'' (1856) by [[Henry Wallis]]]]
 +[[Image:Morphine.jpg|thumb|right|200px|''[[Morphine]]'' ([[1894]]) - [[Santiago Rusiñol]]]]
{{Template}} {{Template}}
-The term '''Bohemian''' was first used in the [[nineteenth century]] to describe the [[History of subcultures in the 19th century|non-traditional lifestyles]] of marginalized and [[starving artist|impoverished artist]]s, [[writer]]s, [[musician]]s, and [[actor]]s in major European cities. The bohemian lifestyle is often associated with [[café]]s, [[coffeehouse]]s, [[drugs|drug use]] (particularly [[opium]]), [[alcoholism]], and [[absinthe]]. Bohemians were associated with [[unorthodox]] or [[anti-establishment]] political or social viewpoints, which were expressed through [[extramarital]] sexual relations and [[simple living|voluntary poverty]]. 
-The term emerged in [[France]] in the 1800s when artists and creators began to concentrate in the lower-rent, lower class [[Roma people|gypsy]] neighbourhoods. The term "Bohemian" reflects a belief, widely held in France at the time, that the Gypsies had come from [[Bohemia]]. +'''Bohemianism''' is the practice of an [[Alternative lifestyle|unconventional lifestyle]], often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving [[music]]al, [[artistic]], or [[literary]] pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may be [[wanderer]]s, [[adventurer]]s, or [[Vagabond (person)|vagabonds]].
-==Origin of term==+
-Literary ''Bohemians'' were associated in the French imagination with roving Gypsies, outsiders apart from conventional society and untroubled by its disapproval. The term carries a connotation of arcane enlightenment (the opposite of '[[Philistinism|Philistines]]'), and also carries a less frequently intended, pejorative connotation of carelessness about personal hygiene and marital orthodoxy. The Spanish gypsy in the French opera '' [[Carmen]]'' set in [[Seville]], is referred to as a ''bohémienne'' in Meilhac and Halévy's libretto (1875). +The term ''bohemian'' was first used in the [[nineteenth century]] to describe a [[subculture]] of marginalized and [[starving artist|impoverished artists, writers, musicians, and actors]] in major European cities. The bohemian lifestyle is often associated with [[coffeehouse]]s, [[Recreational drug use|drug use]] (particularly [[opium]]), [[alcoholism]], and [[absinthe]]. Bohemians were associated with [[unorthodox]] or [[anti-establishment]] political or social viewpoints, which were expressed through [[free love]] and [[simple living|voluntary poverty]].
-:"The term 'Bohemian' has come to be very commonly accepted in our day as the description of a certain kind of literary gypsy, no matter in what language he speaks, or what city he inhabits .... A Bohemian is simply an artist or ''[[littérateur]]'' who, consciously or unconsciously, secedes from conventionality in life and in art." (''Westminster Review'', 1862)+The term emerged in [[19th century France]] when artists and creators began to concentrate in the [[rent|lower-rent]] (the proverbial [[garret]]), [[lower class]] [[gypsy]] neighbourhoods. The term "Bohemian" reflects a belief, widely held in France at the time, that the Gypsies had come from [[Bohemia]].
-[[Henri Murger]]'s collection of short stories, ''[[La Vie de Bohème|Scènes de la Vie de Bohème]]'' ("Scenes of Bohemian Life"), published in 1845, popularized the term's usage in France. Ideas from Murger's collection formed the theme of [[Giacomo Puccini]]'s [[opera]] ''[[La bohème]]'' (1896). Puccini's work, in turn, became [[Jonathan Larson]]'s source material for the [[Musical theatre|musical]] he created, ''[[Rent (musical)|Rent]]'', later a [[Rent (film)|feature film of the same name]]. Like Puccini, Larson explores a Bohemian enclave in a dense urban area, in this case, [[New York City]] at the end of the [[20th century]]. The show features a song, ''[[La Vie Boheme|La Vie Bohème]]'', which celebrates [[postmodern]] Bohemian culture.+The first usage of the term ''Bohemianism'' in its current meaning was by French journalist [[Félix Pyat]] in 1834 in an article called "[[Les artistes]]". He derogatorily described this personality type as "alien and bizarre ... outside the law, beyond the reaches of society ... they are the Bohemians of today" (tr. [[Levi Asher]]). The term became commonplace in the [[1850s]] when the writer [[Henri Murger]] began publishing and staging a series of stories called ''[[La Vie de Bohème]]'' which would eventually become the world-known Puccini opera ''[[La bohème]]''.
-In English, ''Bohemian'' in this sense was initially popularized in [[William Makepeace Thackeray]]'s novel, ''[[Vanity Fair]]'', published in [[1848]], although public perceptions of the alternative life-styles supposedly led by artists were chiefly moulded by [[George du Maurier|George du Maurier's]] highly romanticised best-selling novel of Bohemian culture [[Trilby (novel)|''Trilby'']] (1894). The novel purports to outline the fortunes of three expatriate English artists, their Irish model, and two very colourful Eastern European musicians, in the artist's quarter of Paris.+In the twentieth century, the bohemian impulse was famously seen in the 1940s [[Hipster (1940s subculture)|hipsters]], the 1950s [[Beat generation]] (exemplified by writers such as [[William S. Burroughs]], [[Allen Ginsberg]], [[Jack Kerouac]], and [[Lawrence Ferlinghetti]]), the much more widespread [[1960s counterculture]], and 1970s [[hippie]]s.
-Academics and theorists have been slow to diagnose Bohemianism as against the more abrasive, and politically non-conformist [[Avant-gardism]]. The most serious study of the tendency has been ''Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939'' (2002) by the English writer [[Virginia Nicholson]] (granddaughter of the [[Bloomsbury Group|Bloomsbury]] aesthete [[Clive Bell]] and his wife, the English painter [[Vanessa Bell]]). Her work systematically analysed the Bohemian lifestyle led by a broad and diverse wave of artists, writers and musicians over the early- to mid-twentieth century, showing that they were indeed unified via a set of commonly-held attitudes towards money, sex and relationships, child-rearing, beauty, clothing and personal presentation, cuisine, personal cleanliness, travel, and social mores.+==Origins==
 +===European bohemianism===
 +Literary "Bohemians" were associated in the French imagination with roving Romani people (called "bohemians" because they were believed to have arrived from Bohemia), outsiders apart from conventional society and untroubled by its disapproval. The term carries a connotation of arcane enlightenment (the opposite of [[Philistinism|Philistines]]), and also carries a less frequently intended, pejorative connotation of carelessness about personal hygiene and marital fidelity. The Spanish Gypsy in the French opera "[[Carmen]]" set in [[Seville]], is referred to as a "bohémienne" in Meilhac and Halévy's libretto (1875).
-==People==+:The term ''Bohemian'' has come to be very commonly accepted in our day as the description of a certain kind of literary gypsy, no matter in what language he speaks, or what city he inhabits .... A Bohemian is simply an artist or "[[littérateur]]" who, consciously or unconsciously, secedes from conventionality in life and in art. (''Westminster Review'', 1862
-The term has become associated with various artistic or academic communities and is used as a generalized adjective describing such people, environs, or situations: ''bohemian''' (''boho'' - informal) is defined in ''The American College Dictionary'' as "a person with artistic or intellectual tendencies, who lives and acts with no regard for conventional rules of behavior."+
-Many prominent European and American figures of the last 150 years belonged to the bohemian [[counterculture]], and any comprehensive 'list of bohemians' would be tediously long. Bohemianism has been approved of by some [[bourgeoisie|bourgeois]] writers such as [[Honoré de Balzac]], but most conservative cultural critics do not condone bohemian lifestyles. Ironically enough, bohemianism by definition can only exist within a framework of conservative values.+[[Henri Murger]]'s collection of short stories "[[La Vie de Bohème|Scènes de la Vie de Bohème]]" ("Scenes of Bohemian Life"), published in 1845, was written to glorify and legitimize Bohemia. Murger's collection formed the basis of [[Giacomo Puccini]]'s [[opera]] ''[[La bohème]]'' (1896). Puccini's work, in turn, became source material for [[Jonathan Larson]]'s [[Musical theatre|musical]] ''[[Rent (musical)|Rent]]''. Like Puccini, Larson explores a Bohemian enclave in a dense urban area, in this case, [[New York City]] at the end of the twentieth century. The show features a song, "[[La Vie Boheme]]", which celebrates [[postmodern]] Bohemian culture.
-Noted [[New York Times]] [[columnist]] [[David Brooks (journalist)|David Brooks]] contends that much of the cultural ethos of upper-class Americans is Bohemian-derived, coining the paradoxical term "Bourgeois Bohemians" or "[[Bobos in Paradise|Bobos]]." +In England, ''Bohemian'' in this sense initially was popularized in [[William Makepeace Thackeray]]'s novel, ''[[Vanity Fair (novel)|Vanity Fair]]'', published in 1848. Public perceptions of the alternative lifestyles supposedly led by artists were further molded by [[George du Maurier]]'s highly romanticized best-selling novel of Bohemian culture ''[[Trilby (novel)|Trilby]]'' (1894). The novel outlines the fortunes of three [[expatriate]] English artists, their Irish model, and two very colorful Central European musicians, in the artist quarter of Paris.
-[[The Bombshell Manual of Style]] author, Laren Stover, breaks down the Bohemian into five distinct mind-sets/styles in *[[Bohemian Manifesto]]: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge] " The Bohemian is "not easily classified like species of birds," writes Stover, noting that there are crossovers and hybrids. The five types are: Nouveau, Gypsy, Beat, Zen and Dandy.+In Spanish literature, the Bohemian impulse can be seen in [[Ramón del Valle-Inclán]]'s play ''Luces de Bohemia'' (''Bohemian Lights''), published in 1920.
-==Bohemian communities past and present==+In his song [[La Bohème (Charles Aznavour song)|La Bohème]], [[Charles Aznavour]] described the Bohemian lifestyle in [[Montmartre]]. The film ''[[Moulin Rouge!]]'' (2001) also reflects the Bohemian lifestyle in Montmartre at the turn of the 20th century.
-By extension, ''Bohemia'' meant any place where one could live and work cheaply, and behave unconventionally; a community of free souls beyond the pale of respectable society. Several cities and neighbourhoods came to be associated with bohemianism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: [[Montmartre]] and [[Montparnasse]] in [[Paris]]; [[Greenwich Village]], [[East Village, Manhattan|East Village]] and the [[Lower East Side, Manhattan|Lower East Side]] in [[New York City]]; [[Provincetown, Massachusetts]]; [[Carmel-by-the-Sea, California]]; [[Venice Beach]], [[California]]; [[North Beach, San Francisco, California|North Beach]], [[Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, California|Haight-Ashbury]], and the [[Mission District, San Francisco, California|Mission District]] in [[San Francisco, California|San Francisco]]; [[Bucktown]] & [[Wicker Park]] in [[Chicago]]; the [[French Quarter]] in [[New Orleans, Louisiana|New Orleans]]; [[Chelsea, London|Chelsea]], [[Bedford Park]], [[Camden Town]], [[Fitzrovia]] and [[Soho]] in [[London]]; [[Schwabing]] in [[Munich]]; [[Ipanema]] and [[Leblon]] in [[Rio de Janeiro]]; [[Skadarlija]] in [[Belgrade]]; [[Lavapiés]] in [[Madrid]].+
-Current bohemias include: [[Szentendre]] and [[Budapest]] in [[Hungary]], [[Prenzlauer Berg]], [[Kreuzberg]] and [[Friedrichshain]] in [[Berlin]], [[Barranco]] in [[Lima]], [[Peru]]; [[Dali, Yunnan province|Dali]] in [[People's Republic of China|China]]; [[Chiang Rai]] in [[Thailand]]; [[Kathmandu]] in [[Nepal]]; [[Amsterdam]] in the [[Netherlands]]; [[Prague]] in the [[Czech Republic]]; [[Užupis]] in [[Vilnius]], [[Lithuania]], and [[Vama Veche]] in [[Romania]]. In [[Australia]], there is [[North Adelaide]] (in [[Adelaide]], [[South Australia]]), [[Newtown, New South Wales|Newtown]] in [[Sydney]] and [[Fitzroy, Victoria|Fitzroy]] in [[Melbourne]]. [[Canada|Canadian]] examples include Osbourne Village in [[Winnipeg]], [[The Junction]] and [[Kensington Market]] in [[Toronto]] and [[Mile End (Montreal)|Mile End]] in [[Montreal]]. In [[Mexico]], there is [[Coyoacán]], [[Roma (Mexico City)|Roma]] and [[Condesa]], and in [[Argentina]], there is [[Palermo, Buenos Aires|Palermo Hollywood]]. In the [[United Kingdom]] there is [[Deptford]], [[Camden Town]], [[New Cross]], [[South East London]], [[Cornwall|West Cornwall]] (as most evidenced in certain theatre professionals in the region) and the market town of [[Totnes]], which is considered to be a high example of bohemia in the UK. More recently Camden, and in particular Camden market has also become to be associated with "bohemian" behavior.+===American bohemianism===
 +:''[[American decadents]], [[James Huneker]]''
 +In 1845, Bohemian nationals began to emigrate to the United States, and from 1848 the wave included some of the radicals and ex-priests who had wanted a constitutional government. In New York City in 1857, a group of some 15–20 young, cultured journalists flourished as self-described "Bohemians" until the [[American Civil War]] began in 1860. Similar groups in other cities were broken up as well; reporters spread out to report on the conflict. During the war, correspondents began to assume the title "Bohemian", and newspapermen in general took up the moniker. ''Bohemian'' became synonymous with ''newspaper writer''. In 1866, war correspondent [[Junius Henri Browne]], who wrote for the ''[[New York Tribune]]'' and ''[[Harper's Magazine]]'', described "Bohemian" journalists such as he was, as well as the few carefree women and lighthearted men he encountered during the war years.
-In the [[United States]], the bohemian impulse can be seen in the 1960s [[hippie]] movement [[counterculture]] (which was in turn informed by the [[Beat generation]] via writers such as [[William Burroughs]], [[Allen Ginsberg]] and [[Jack Kerouac]]). Major U.S. cities often have bohemian areas such as [[Williamsburg, Brooklyn]] in [[New York City]] as well as [[Dupont Circle]] and [[Adams Morgan]] in [[Washington, D.C.]] Some entire U.S. cities, often those associated with universities and elite liberal arts colleges, may have a Bohemian reputation or image; examples include [[Bellingham, WA]] [[Berkeley, CA]], [[Cambridge, MA]], [[Eugene, OR]], [[Arcata, CA]], [[Santa Cruz, CA]], [[Boulder, CO]], [[Columbia, MO]] [[Madison, WI]], [[Carrboro, NC]], [[Ann Arbor, MI]], [[New Paltz, NY]], [[Athens, OH]], [[Princeton, NJ]], [[Winter Park, FL]], [[Oberlin, OH]], [[Missoula, MT]], [[Burlington, VT]], and [[Madison, WI]]. Other U.S. cities may have a thriving bohemian community but not a bohemian image, such as [[Portland,OR]], [[Somerville, MA]], [[Orlando, Florida|Orlando, FL]], [[Austin, TX]] or [[Allentown, Buffalo, New York|Allentown]] in [[Buffalo, NY]].+[[San Francisco]] journalist [[Bret Harte]] first wrote as "The Bohemian" in ''[[The Golden Era]]'' in 1861, with this persona taking part in many satirical doings, the lot published in his book ''Bohemian Papers'' in 1867. Harte wrote, "Bohemia has never been located geographically, but any clear day when the sun is going down, if you mount [[Telegraph Hill, San Francisco|Telegraph Hill]], you shall see its pleasant valleys and cloud-capped hills glittering in the West..."
-One of the ironies of these neo-bohemian communities in the United States is their tendency towards rapid [[gentrification]] and the commercialization and decay of the bohemian culture that provided the initial attractive character of the community.+[[Mark Twain]] included himself and [[Charles Warren Stoddard]] in the Bohemian category in 1867. By 1872, when a group of journalists and artists who gathered regularly for cultural pursuits in San Francisco were casting about for a name, the term ''Bohemian'' became the main choice, and the [[Bohemian Club]] was born. Club members who were established and successful, pillars of their community, respectable family men, redefined their own form of bohemianism to include people like them who were [[bon vivant|bons vivants]], sportsmen, and appreciators of the [[fine art]]s. Club member and poet [[George Sterling]] responded to this redefinition:
-The [[Rainbow Family of Living Light]] and associated [[Rainbow Gathering]]s may be seen as another contemporary worldwide expression of the bohemian impulse.+
-==In popular culture==+:Any good mixer of convivial habits considers he has a right to be called a Bohemian. But that is not a valid claim. There are two elements, at least, that are essential to Bohemianism. The first is devotion or addiction to one or more of the [[Liberal arts|Seven Arts]]; the other is poverty. Other factors suggest themselves: for instance, I like to think of my Bohemians as young, as radical in their outlook on art and life; as unconventional, and, though this is debatable, as dwellers in a city large enough to have the somewhat cruel atmosphere of all great cities.
-*[[Aki Kaurismäki]]'s movie [[Boheemielämää]](La vie de bohème), based on the play [[La vie de bohème]] by [[Henri Murger]].+
-*[[Jonathan Larson]]'s [[Broadway theatre|Broadway musical]] and film ''[[Rent (film)|Rent]]'', based on Puccini's ''[[La bohème]]'', depicts the Bohemian culture of [[New York City]] in the [[1980s]]. One of the feature numbers, ''[[La Vie Boheme]]'', addresses the ''death of bohemia'' as an end of the neighborhood as a haven for these bohemians, while celebrating the ideals and history that formed this [[counterculture]].+
-* The movie ''[[Moulin Rouge!]]'' by [[Baz Luhrmann]] bears relation to the opera La bohème and includes many references to the Bohemian subculture.+
-*[[Queen (band)|Queen]]'s song, "[[Bohemian Rhapsody]]," a rock opera.+
-* The fashion for so-called "Bohemian" or [[boho-chic|"boho" chic]] in the early 21st century included a number of elements from earlier eras.+
-*[[The Dandy Warhols]]' album, "[[Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia]]," as well as their biggest hit, "Bohemian Like You."+
-*[[Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly]]'s album "[[The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager]]."+
-* [[The Thrills]]' album "[[Let's Bottle Bohemia]]."+
-* [[Bohemia (beer)|Bohemia]] is also a popular export beer from [[Mexico]].+
-* [[The Fourth Doctor]] on the extremely popular [[BBC]] sci-fi TV show, [[Doctor Who]], is called a bohemian. An example is in the [[Destiny of the Doctors]] videogame for the computer where [[the Master]] calls the Fouth Doctor this.+
-*A [[Canadian Beer]] is called Bohemian or BOH for short+
-*[[Bohemian Manifesto]], A Field Guide to Living on the Edge, examines the seductive qualities of Bohemian style and culture. It playfully deconstructs the five types of Bohemians today and offers a quiz.+
 +Despite his views, Sterling associated very closely with the Bohemian Club, and caroused with artist and industrialist alike at the [[Bohemian Grove]].
 +
 +The impish American writer and Bohemian Club member, [[Gelett Burgess]], who coined the word ''blurb'' among other things, supplied this description of the amorphous place called Bohemia:
 +
 +:To take the world as one finds it, the bad with the good, making the best of the present moment—to laugh at Fortune alike whether she be generous or unkind—to spend freely when one has money, and to hope gaily when one has none—to fleet the time carelessly, living for love and art—this is the temper and spirit of the modern Bohemian in his outward and visible aspect. It is a light and graceful philosophy, but it is the Gospel of the Moment, this exoteric phase of the Bohemian religion; and if, in some noble natures, it rises to a bold simplicity and naturalness, it may also lend its butterfly precepts to some very pretty vices and lovable faults, for in Bohemia one may find almost every sin save that of Hypocrisy. ...
 +
 +:His faults are more commonly those of self-indulgence, thoughtlessness, vanity and procrastination, and these usually go hand-in-hand with generosity, love and charity; for it is not enough to be one’s self in Bohemia, one must allow others to be themselves, as well. ...
 +
 +:What, then, is it that makes this mystical empire of Bohemia unique, and what is the charm of its mental fairyland? It is this: there are no roads in all Bohemia! One must choose and find one’s own path, be one’s own self, live one’s own life.
 +
 +In New York City, an organization of musicians was formed in 1907 by pianist [[Rafael Joseffy]] with friends such as [[Rubin Goldmark]], called "The Bohemians (New York Musicians' Club)".
 +
 +==People==
 +The term has become associated with various artistic or academic communities and is used as a generalized adjective describing such people, environs, or situations: ''bohemian'' (''boho''—informal) is defined in ''The American College Dictionary'' as "a person with artistic or intellectual tendencies, who lives and acts with no regard for conventional rules of behavior."
 +
 +Many prominent European and American figures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries belonged to the bohemian [[subculture]], and any comprehensive "list of bohemians" would be tediously long. Bohemianism has been approved of by some [[bourgeoisie|bourgeois]] writers such as [[Honoré de Balzac]], but most conservative cultural critics do not condone bohemian lifestyles.
 +
 +[[Maxwell Bodenheim]], an American poet and novelist, was known as the King of [[Greenwich Village]] Bohemians during the 1920s and his writing brought him international fame during the [[Jazz Age]].
 +
 +In the twentieth century [[United States]], the bohemian impulse was famously seen in the 1940s [[Hipster (1940s subculture)|hipsters]], the 1950s [[Beat generation]] (exemplified by writers such as [[William S. Burroughs]], [[Allen Ginsberg]], [[Jack Kerouac]], and [[Lawrence Ferlinghetti]]), the much more widespread [[1960s counterculture]], and 1970s [[hippie]]s.
 +
 +[[Rainbow Gathering]]s may be seen as another contemporary worldwide expression of the bohemian impulse. An American example is [[Burning Man]], an annual participatory arts festival held in the Nevada desert.
 +==References==
 +*''[[Modernity and its Discontents]]'' (1964) by César Graña.
==See also== ==See also==
 +*[[Original 1896 La bohème poster by Adolfo Hohenstein]]
 +*''[[The Bohemian (Renoir painting)]]''
 +*[[A Prince of Bohemia]] (1840) by Balzac
 +*[[Former bohemian communities]]
 +;Related terms
 +*[[Anti-bourgeois]] and [[bourgeoisophobe]]
 +*[[Art colony]]
*[[Avant-garde]] *[[Avant-garde]]
-*[[Art colony|Art colonies]]+*[[Bohemian]]
-*[[Beat generation]] +
*[[Bohemian style]] *[[Bohemian style]]
-*[[Goth subculture|Goth]]+*[[Bouzingo]]
 +*[[Counterculture]]
 +*[[Counterculture of the 1960s]]
 +*[[Decadence]]
*[[Hippie]] *[[Hippie]]
-*[[Hipster]]+*[[History of subcultures in the 19th century]]
-*[[Literary Kicks]]+*[[History of Western subcultures in the 20th Century]]
-*[[Punk subculture]]+*[[Romanticism]]
 +*[[Simple living]]
 +*[[Slumming]]
 + 
 +;Related cultures or movements
 +*[[Dandy]]
 +*[[Beat Generation]]
 +*[[Diggers]]
 +*[[Hipster (1940s subculture)]]
 +*[[Hipster (contemporary subculture)]]
 +*[[Hippy]]
 +*[[Merry Pranksters]]
 +*[[Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood]]
 +*[[Punk subculture|Punk]]
{{GFDL}} {{GFDL}}

Current revision

L'Absinthe (1876) - Edgar Degas
Enlarge
L'Absinthe (1876) - Edgar Degas

Moi qui criait famine
Et toi qui posais nue

I, who screamed hunger
and you who posed nude

--"La Bohème" (1966) by Charles Aznavour

A Paris street - set design for Act II of Puccini's La bohème by Adolfo Hohenstein.
Enlarge
A Paris street - set design for Act II of Puccini's La bohème by Adolfo Hohenstein.
The Poor Poet (1839) is a painting by Carl Spitzweg
Enlarge
The Poor Poet (1839) is a painting by Carl Spitzweg

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic, or literary pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.

The term bohemian was first used in the nineteenth century to describe a subculture of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, musicians, and actors in major European cities. The bohemian lifestyle is often associated with coffeehouses, drug use (particularly opium), alcoholism, and absinthe. Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which were expressed through free love and voluntary poverty.

The term emerged in 19th century France when artists and creators began to concentrate in the lower-rent (the proverbial garret), lower class gypsy neighbourhoods. The term "Bohemian" reflects a belief, widely held in France at the time, that the Gypsies had come from Bohemia.

The first usage of the term Bohemianism in its current meaning was by French journalist Félix Pyat in 1834 in an article called "Les artistes". He derogatorily described this personality type as "alien and bizarre ... outside the law, beyond the reaches of society ... they are the Bohemians of today" (tr. Levi Asher). The term became commonplace in the 1850s when the writer Henri Murger began publishing and staging a series of stories called La Vie de Bohème which would eventually become the world-known Puccini opera La bohème.

In the twentieth century, the bohemian impulse was famously seen in the 1940s hipsters, the 1950s Beat generation (exemplified by writers such as William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti), the much more widespread 1960s counterculture, and 1970s hippies.

Contents

Origins

European bohemianism

Literary "Bohemians" were associated in the French imagination with roving Romani people (called "bohemians" because they were believed to have arrived from Bohemia), outsiders apart from conventional society and untroubled by its disapproval. The term carries a connotation of arcane enlightenment (the opposite of Philistines), and also carries a less frequently intended, pejorative connotation of carelessness about personal hygiene and marital fidelity. The Spanish Gypsy in the French opera "Carmen" set in Seville, is referred to as a "bohémienne" in Meilhac and Halévy's libretto (1875).

The term Bohemian has come to be very commonly accepted in our day as the description of a certain kind of literary gypsy, no matter in what language he speaks, or what city he inhabits .... A Bohemian is simply an artist or "littérateur" who, consciously or unconsciously, secedes from conventionality in life and in art. (Westminster Review, 1862

Henri Murger's collection of short stories "Scènes de la Vie de Bohème" ("Scenes of Bohemian Life"), published in 1845, was written to glorify and legitimize Bohemia. Murger's collection formed the basis of Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème (1896). Puccini's work, in turn, became source material for Jonathan Larson's musical Rent. Like Puccini, Larson explores a Bohemian enclave in a dense urban area, in this case, New York City at the end of the twentieth century. The show features a song, "La Vie Boheme", which celebrates postmodern Bohemian culture.

In England, Bohemian in this sense initially was popularized in William Makepeace Thackeray's novel, Vanity Fair, published in 1848. Public perceptions of the alternative lifestyles supposedly led by artists were further molded by George du Maurier's highly romanticized best-selling novel of Bohemian culture Trilby (1894). The novel outlines the fortunes of three expatriate English artists, their Irish model, and two very colorful Central European musicians, in the artist quarter of Paris.

In Spanish literature, the Bohemian impulse can be seen in Ramón del Valle-Inclán's play Luces de Bohemia (Bohemian Lights), published in 1920.

In his song La Bohème, Charles Aznavour described the Bohemian lifestyle in Montmartre. The film Moulin Rouge! (2001) also reflects the Bohemian lifestyle in Montmartre at the turn of the 20th century.

American bohemianism

American decadents, James Huneker

In 1845, Bohemian nationals began to emigrate to the United States, and from 1848 the wave included some of the radicals and ex-priests who had wanted a constitutional government. In New York City in 1857, a group of some 15–20 young, cultured journalists flourished as self-described "Bohemians" until the American Civil War began in 1860. Similar groups in other cities were broken up as well; reporters spread out to report on the conflict. During the war, correspondents began to assume the title "Bohemian", and newspapermen in general took up the moniker. Bohemian became synonymous with newspaper writer. In 1866, war correspondent Junius Henri Browne, who wrote for the New York Tribune and Harper's Magazine, described "Bohemian" journalists such as he was, as well as the few carefree women and lighthearted men he encountered during the war years.

San Francisco journalist Bret Harte first wrote as "The Bohemian" in The Golden Era in 1861, with this persona taking part in many satirical doings, the lot published in his book Bohemian Papers in 1867. Harte wrote, "Bohemia has never been located geographically, but any clear day when the sun is going down, if you mount Telegraph Hill, you shall see its pleasant valleys and cloud-capped hills glittering in the West..."

Mark Twain included himself and Charles Warren Stoddard in the Bohemian category in 1867. By 1872, when a group of journalists and artists who gathered regularly for cultural pursuits in San Francisco were casting about for a name, the term Bohemian became the main choice, and the Bohemian Club was born. Club members who were established and successful, pillars of their community, respectable family men, redefined their own form of bohemianism to include people like them who were bons vivants, sportsmen, and appreciators of the fine arts. Club member and poet George Sterling responded to this redefinition:

Any good mixer of convivial habits considers he has a right to be called a Bohemian. But that is not a valid claim. There are two elements, at least, that are essential to Bohemianism. The first is devotion or addiction to one or more of the Seven Arts; the other is poverty. Other factors suggest themselves: for instance, I like to think of my Bohemians as young, as radical in their outlook on art and life; as unconventional, and, though this is debatable, as dwellers in a city large enough to have the somewhat cruel atmosphere of all great cities.

Despite his views, Sterling associated very closely with the Bohemian Club, and caroused with artist and industrialist alike at the Bohemian Grove.

The impish American writer and Bohemian Club member, Gelett Burgess, who coined the word blurb among other things, supplied this description of the amorphous place called Bohemia:

To take the world as one finds it, the bad with the good, making the best of the present moment—to laugh at Fortune alike whether she be generous or unkind—to spend freely when one has money, and to hope gaily when one has none—to fleet the time carelessly, living for love and art—this is the temper and spirit of the modern Bohemian in his outward and visible aspect. It is a light and graceful philosophy, but it is the Gospel of the Moment, this exoteric phase of the Bohemian religion; and if, in some noble natures, it rises to a bold simplicity and naturalness, it may also lend its butterfly precepts to some very pretty vices and lovable faults, for in Bohemia one may find almost every sin save that of Hypocrisy. ...
His faults are more commonly those of self-indulgence, thoughtlessness, vanity and procrastination, and these usually go hand-in-hand with generosity, love and charity; for it is not enough to be one’s self in Bohemia, one must allow others to be themselves, as well. ...
What, then, is it that makes this mystical empire of Bohemia unique, and what is the charm of its mental fairyland? It is this: there are no roads in all Bohemia! One must choose and find one’s own path, be one’s own self, live one’s own life.

In New York City, an organization of musicians was formed in 1907 by pianist Rafael Joseffy with friends such as Rubin Goldmark, called "The Bohemians (New York Musicians' Club)".

People

The term has become associated with various artistic or academic communities and is used as a generalized adjective describing such people, environs, or situations: bohemian (boho—informal) is defined in The American College Dictionary as "a person with artistic or intellectual tendencies, who lives and acts with no regard for conventional rules of behavior."

Many prominent European and American figures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries belonged to the bohemian subculture, and any comprehensive "list of bohemians" would be tediously long. Bohemianism has been approved of by some bourgeois writers such as Honoré de Balzac, but most conservative cultural critics do not condone bohemian lifestyles.

Maxwell Bodenheim, an American poet and novelist, was known as the King of Greenwich Village Bohemians during the 1920s and his writing brought him international fame during the Jazz Age.

In the twentieth century United States, the bohemian impulse was famously seen in the 1940s hipsters, the 1950s Beat generation (exemplified by writers such as William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti), the much more widespread 1960s counterculture, and 1970s hippies.

Rainbow Gatherings may be seen as another contemporary worldwide expression of the bohemian impulse. An American example is Burning Man, an annual participatory arts festival held in the Nevada desert.

References

See also

Related terms
Related cultures or movements




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