Modernity and Its Discontents  

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

Bohemia vs. Bourgeois: French Society and the French Man of Letters in the Nineteenth Century (1964) is a book by César Graña. It is also known as Modernity and its Discontents.

Grana's concern here is to show how the concept of bohemia (what Grana dubs 'literary discontent') arose, particularly as it was articulated by Stendhal, Flaubert, and Baudelaire. The narrative goes something like: French Revolution(s) --> Elimination of aristocracy / Rise of bourgeoisie--> Elimination of system of artistic patronage / Art enters into cultural marketplace] --> Writers faced with impersonal audience (which they construct as a spiritually devoid mass, and use to highlight their own individuality). --Jsfriedman on August 24, 2011

Graña describes:

  • Flaubert: “anyone who acquired a routine social obligation or worked at a profession received from Flaubert either casual scorn or mocking sorrow”.
  • Baudelaire: “to be a useful person has always appeared to me to be something particularly horrible”—expressed pure aristocratic disdain.
  • Flaubert after completing Salammbo: “It will: 1) annoy the bourgeois; 2) unnerve and shock sensitive people; 3) anger the archaeologists; 4) be unintelligible to the ladies; 5) earn me a reputation as a pederast and a cannibal. Let us hope so.”

See also

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