Culture, Politics, and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830-1930
Exotic and yet familiar, rife with passion, immorality, hunger, and freedom, Bohemia was an object of both worry and fascination to workaday Parisians in the nineteenth century. No mere revolt against middle-class society, the Bohemia Seigel discovers was richer and more complex, the stage on which modern bourgeois acted out the conflicts of their social identities, testing the liberation promised by post-revolutionary society against the barriers set up to contain it. Turning life into art, Bohemia became a space where many innovative and original figures—some famous, some obscure—found a home.
About the Author
Jerrold Seigel is William J. Kenan Professor in the Department of History at New York University. He is also the author of The Private Worlds of Marcel Duchamp and Marx's Fate.
The central attraction of this study lies in its imaginative grasp of these remarkable denizens (both declared and undeclared) of bohemia. Mr. Seigel has written a cultural history that respects the complex entanglements found in both life and art, and that is no mean feat.
The research that went into Bohemian Paris turns up some treasures—the very stuff of history... This highly readable book probes further than any other I know into the reciprocating movements that connect and distinguish bohemia and bourgeois.
This is an enormously useful approach to a complex phenomenon... It also brings together a dazzling assortment of individuals, from such well-known figures as Baudelaire, Courbet, Zola, Manet, Verlaine, and Rimbaud to such relatively obscure figures as the writer Henry Murger and the cabaret owner Emile Goudeau.
It deserves to be read... for the skill with which it explores an ever-interesting tract of cultural history.
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