Bohemia in America, 1858-1920

By Joanna Levin | Go to book overview

Notes

Introduction

1. Henri Murger, “The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter: Original Preface, 1850,” in On Bohemia: The Code of the Self-Exiled, ed. César Graña and Marigay Graña (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1990), 45. Self-proclaimed British Bohemians also grappled with Murger's statement and attempted (somewhat defensively) to locate a Bohemian geography within their own nation. For example, in 1907, Arthur Ransome championed “this London Bohemia of ours, whose existence is denied by the ignorant.” He admitted: “Our Villons do not perhaps kill people, but they are not without their tavern brawls. They still live and write poetry in the slums.” Ransome, Bohemia in London (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co.,1907), 10.

2. William Dean Howells, Literary Friends and Acquaintance: A Personal Retrospect of American Authorship (1900; repr., New York: Harper and Brothers, 1901), 68.

3. James Jeffrey Roche, Life of John Boyle O'Reilly: Together with His Complete Poems and Speeches (New York: Cassell Publishing Co., 1891), 10.

4. Harry T. Levin, “The Discovery of Bohemia,” in Literary History of the United States, ed. RoberThe. Spiller (New York: Macmillan, 1948), 1066.

5. Richard H. Brodhead, “The American Literary Field, 1860– 1890,” in The Cambridge History of American Literature, vol. 3. Prose Writing 1860–1920, ed. Sacvan Bercovitch (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 41. David Weir has recovered a similarly neglected tradition of self-defined American “De cadents” in turn-of-the-century America. Though at times the concepts of the “Bohemian” and the “Decadent” converged (as both Weir and this study discuss), Weir quite rightly recognizes that the two terms were not simply interchangeable. See David Weir, De cadent Culture in the United States: Art and Literature in the American Grain, 1890–1926 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008).

6. Jerrold Seigel, Bohemian Paris: Culture, Politics, and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830–1930 (New York: Penguin Books, 1986), 5.

7. As Mary Gluck has argued in popular Bohemia: Modernism and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005), Murger himself authorized two somewhat contradictory views of Bohemia. On one level, he dramatized the extent to which the artist's life and calling “stood for enjoyment and spontaneity in opposition to puritanical self-restraint and a rigid work ethic” (16). On another level, he

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