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Bohemians: The Glamorous Outcasts
     

Bohemians: The Glamorous Outcasts

by Elizabeth Wilson
 

Since the early nineteenth century, the bohemian has been the protagonist of the story the West has wanted to hear about its artists-a story of genius, glamour, and doom. The bohemian takes on many guises: the artist dying in poverty like Modigliani or an outrageous entertainer like Josephine Baker. Elizabeth Wilson's enjoyable book is a quest for the many

Overview

Since the early nineteenth century, the bohemian has been the protagonist of the story the West has wanted to hear about its artists-a story of genius, glamour, and doom. The bohemian takes on many guises: the artist dying in poverty like Modigliani or an outrageous entertainer like Josephine Baker. Elizabeth Wilson's enjoyable book is a quest for the many shifting meanings that constitute the bohemian and bohemia.

She tells unforgettable stories of the artists, intellectuals, radicals, and hangers-on who populated the salons, bars, and cafs of Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, including Djuna Barnes, Juliette Greco, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Amiri Baraka, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock. Bohemians also follows the women who contributed to the myth, including the wives and mistresses, the muses, lesbians, and independent artists. Wilson explores the bohemians' eccentric use of dress, the role of sex and erotic love, the bohemian search for excess, and the intransigent politics of many.

As a new millennium begins, Wilson shows how notions of bohemianism remain at the core of heated cultural debates about the role of art and artists in an increasingly commodified and technological world.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Bohemianism is not so easy to define as one might think, but in this serious historical analysis, Wilson (cultural studies, Univ. of North London) does an excellent job of illuminating its multiple meanings and ambiguities. From George Sand, Lord Byron, and Modigliani to Andy Warhol and Jack Kerouac, and from Greenwich Village to Montparnasse, plenty of informative material is provided on bohemians and their haunts--both famous and forgotten. Wilson delves with gusto into the lives, motivations, and perspectives of artists, philosophers, radicals, and others. She dissects women's roles, politics, economics, dress, symbolism, love, and more within bohemian culture and raises a number of crucial issues and questions about their evolution and specific contexts. Her musings on the relationships between bohemian and mainstream thought during different time spans and various parts of the world are particularly intriguing. Artists, musicians, historians, and cultural observers will find this work thought-provoking, and anyone who has ever envied the bohemian existence may finally conclude that it is fascinating but, ultimately, not always glamorous. For libraries with large collections in the arts and humanities.--Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813528946
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Publication date:
11/01/2000
Pages:
286
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.03(d)

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