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Title: Bohemia : gripped by a mood
Other Titles: Mediterranea
Authors: Frendo, Maria
Keywords: Artists -- France -- Paris
Musicians -- France -- Paris
Bohemianism -- France -- Paris
Issue Date: 2021
Citation: Frendo, M. (2015). Bohemia: gripped by a mood. Mediterranea 2015, 18-34.
Abstract: Its borders were youth and death, frivolity and despair, love and rejection. To nineteenth-century decadents, no country was more real than the one that was not marked on any map – Bohemia, populated by Bohemians – whose fictional reality was more authentic than England and the English, France and the French, Italy and the Italians. Decadents scaled its boundaries with a mixture of fantasy and reality. The legacy the reader is left with is this problem, namely, just where is Bohemia and who subscribes as one of its citizens. To be able to count how many Rodolfos and Mimìs were dying of cold and starvation in their lofts in any one year in the fin-de-siècle, how long did it take for young people to perish in poverty, and what standard of bourgeois comfort awaited those who gave up or escaped – these are a few of the points that come to mind when thinking about the subject, ones that make bohemianism a respectable subject. Yet, the dialectical tension pulls the reader in the opposite direction, for what categorises the period as bohemian is precisely its lack of respectability. It is wonderfully irreverent, bitterly ironic, unutterably vulnerable. It resisted delineating, structuring, organising because it was always a subjective condition and never subscribed to objective mapping. Bohemia did outwardly show signs of membership. Its logos were sartorial idiosyncrasies (which included nudity), (dis)occupation, style, rhythm. With a total disregard for rules and norms, it could never obey the dictates of a manifesto or creed. Bohemia was a mood that gripped fin-de-siècle intellectuals and artists. It had to be absorbed by the mind, through some consciousness of belonging. A style of dress or of life was classified as bohemian if it was understood and received in a certain way; bohemian actions were figurative gestures.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacArtEng

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