Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge

Overview

Bohemianism is a way of life, a state of mind, an atmosphere. It is not a trend, its a timeless movement. It is about living beyond convention. BOHEMIAN MANIFESTO explores and joyfully celebrates the creativity, the originality, and the splendor of a lifestyle and spirit shared by free-thinking, free-living artists, poets, writers, sculptors, musicians, and intellectuals. This is the first book to distill and categorize all the ingredients of Bohemian life. In a witty and engaging style, Laren Stover examines the...

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Overview

Bohemianism is a way of life, a state of mind, an atmosphere. It is not a trend, its a timeless movement. It is about living beyond convention. BOHEMIAN MANIFESTO explores and joyfully celebrates the creativity, the originality, and the splendor of a lifestyle and spirit shared by free-thinking, free-living artists, poets, writers, sculptors, musicians, and intellectuals. This is the first book to distill and categorize all the ingredients of Bohemian life. In a witty and engaging style, Laren Stover examines the contents of a Bohemians closet, bathroom, and bookshelf. She explains the allure of absinthe, why it isnt wise to leave a Bohemian unattended in your home—you could return to find nude nymphs painted on your lamp shades—and how to identify what type of Bohemian you might be.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A proud bohemian once proclaimed that Greenwich Village is a state of mind, not a place. If so, Greenwich Village is alive and well all over America. Laren Stover, the author of The Bombshell Manual of Style, has composed a witty taxonomy of bohemianism, carefully categorizing variant species of freethinkers, artists, intellectuals, and free-spirited ne'er-do-wells.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821228906
  • Publisher: Bulfinch
  • Publication date: 11/1/2004
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Laren Stover is the author of The Bombshell Manual of Style, and a novel, Pluto, Animal Lover, a finalist for The Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers award. She has been a resident of Yaddo and Hawthornden Castle and received the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation grant for fiction in 1991. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Bomb, and The New York Observer. She lives in New York.

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Read an Excerpt

Bohemian Manifesto


By Laren Stover

Bulfinch Press

Copyright © 2004 Laren Stover
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-821-22890-0


Chapter One

"Who am I? I'm a poet. My business? Writing. In my happy poverty I squander like a prince, In hopes and dreams and castles-in-air,

So, what exactly is a Bohemian? Technically, a Bohemian is a person hailing from that province of the Czech Republic or a gypsy type leading a vagabond life reading palms and tarot cards and playing strange music around the campfire with a dancing bear. The Bohemia of this book is about living beyond convention. Bohemia is an atmosphere, a way of life, a state of mind. Henry Murger, who wrote about himself and all his starving-artist friends, put the word Bohemian into mainstream language in 1849 when his play La Vie de Boheme went up in Paris. He gave a label to the eccentric and socially unorthodox. Poets, painters, absinthe drinkers, dandies on the fringe-any oddball qualified.

Bohemian living or consciousness, if you will, has always been provocative. There's just something about the freedom, recklessness, scandal, artistic vision and spiritual splendor that makes it tantalizingly worthy of membership. Bohemianism is not a trend, it's a timeless movement, a way of life both fleeting and enduring that reappears every now and then as a backlash against our bourgeois, mass market, easy access culture. Bohemianism doesn't always steal the headlines. Bohemianism may be big and shocking but it may also be personal and subterranean, with quiet defiances. Bohemianism slips into our bedroom and makes a personal appearance in our dreams, sits next to us while we're in a car and whispers detours, Bohemianism is the stranger pouring stars and galaxies into our morning beverage while we watch the cat lick its paws, and it's the compulsion we have to pick up a piece of paper on the street and promise ourselves that what's written on it will be the first sentence of our next novel or the name of the yoga center or bar we're opening. Bohemianism is more than an attitude. It's the apolitical freedom of ideas, clothing and behaviors gently outside the norm. It's an elixir of undisclosed ingredients, a strange, bootleg perfume, it's the psychic, globally warmed truth serum the government wants to ban, it's the holy water of the unconscious mind, and once anointed, the underground gold mine of ideas blossoms and bleeds into the open air without self-consciousness, without reproach, without judgment.

Bohemians defy exact definition because they are essentially errant spirits. Bohemians are society's outlaws-mavericks, vagabonds, mad scientists, gypsies, theater people, artists, deviants, radicals, outsiders. They are, in essence, all one clan.

Bohemians transform, mutating and evolving from Dandy to Beat to Flower Child per the prevailing zeitgeist.

You know them when you see them:

She wears velvet in the rain.

He dances with pigeons and does magic tricks in the bookstore cafe.

They walk from Nice to Florence and have a child named Sienna.

They drive a school bus, despite the parking challenges ... and eat porridge while drinking Languedoc.

They wear contrarianism more liberally than ordinary mortals wear polyester.

You see them selling hand-knit hats to tourists on the streets of SoHo, heading to Veselka coffee shop in the East Village at noon for a morning coffee, wearing Value Village as if it were Yohji Yamamoto, reading Gertrude Stein, dressed like George Sand at cafes in the Butte aux Cailles, safe from tourist buses since it's in the thirteenth arrondissement, listening to jazz at Les Instants Chavires in Paris, hiking in a fedora in Katmandu, doing performance art in Williamsburg, moving into a new space in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco because they find North Beach too cliche, on their third pint at a tavern talking about the creation of the universe and the six months they spent in the rain forest and the miracle drug they found growing at the roots of a particular type of tree and by the way it gets you high, sipping free wine in plastic cups at art galleries as artist, collector and muse, reading poetry in bookstores in Berlin, modeling for nude photographs in a cemetery in Prague and scavenging junk shops by bus for vintage furniture later sold to antique dealers to keep themselves in absinthe.

Bohemians may get on your nerves, but even when they appear to be idle, down-and-out, opinionated Slackers, they're stirring things up. Bohemians are the ultimate elitists. They want to run things. They break the rules, set the trends, knit the knits, destroy the art and reinvent the art that everyone wants, or will want. Bohemians start movements. Bohemians change thinking. Bohemians stay up all night talking, and sometimes they write manifestos. Bohemians cross cultures and integrate mantras, philosophies, substances and clothing seamlessly into everyday life. Bohemians tenderly and violently create new work and change paradigms. Bohemians change the world.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Bohemian Manifesto by Laren Stover Copyright © 2004 by Laren Stover. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Highly recommended

    A refreshing look back to those days of yore when there was this much freedom to be you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Did Somebody Steal My Life and Interests To Write A Book...

    I came across this book accidentally and couldn't stop laughing from how much I had in common with the information. I always thought of myself not as a Hippy, but something along those lines and this book just nailed a more appropriate label onto myself. This is wonderfull collection of information of the lifesytle of one whom would be known as "Bohemian," somebody who in my mind has a zesty "Taste" for life and all that it has to offer. From Fashion to Dining, from Housing to Traveling, from Books to All the Arts, and so much more. I could see that it was apparent that there was not enough room for all the information, since their was so much more the author could've added, but this book sums it all up. I was even suprised to find the chapter on ingredients of how to brew your own Absinthe...which was before the strange brew became legal in America. Overall I love this book and makes me feel as if there are so many of other personalities like myself out there, wherever they are, I'm glad that we're able to get a salute...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2007

    Outrageously Entertaining

    This book is very entertaining. It definetly seduces you into bohemia (at least mentally). It doesn't have to be read pg.1 to pg. 265. And it's one of the few non-fiction books you can read over and over again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2004

    Funny!

    This is a pretty funny read. Everything you need to know about the bohemian lifestyle. I was amazed to discover that my lower east side and Williamsburg friends aren't so unique after all.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2004

    Boho Splendor

    My friends have always called me bohemain but my family just calls me wierd. I'm going to get this book for them so they can a learn a little about society's cultural heros. This book is an excellent survey of bohemianism from the time of the earliest Parisian bohemians through the flower children of the '60s, up until today. It focuses on their originality and creativity, the splendor of their existence and for that this book is truly inspiring. Sure, the authors could've explored more of the grittiness and anarchical spirit, the civil disobedience, the riots, the endless suicides, dying in poverty, etc. but why persist in keeping a dark cloud over Bohemians forever when there is much to celebrate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2004

    Breezy Boho!

    What this book lacks in humongous details and some didactic it makes up for in its breezy good wit and clipped style. A good read for after plum pudding!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2004

    Celebrate your individuality!

    A great book that will inspire every reader to exercise their eccentricities (And now more than ever it's time we break from the mainstream!) This book has wit, glamour and splendor and brings Bohemianism into the 21st century.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted September 25, 2011

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    Posted January 12, 2010

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    Posted June 26, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2009

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