{Unit title}

{Page title}


   Cafe Culture

   Daily Life







La Boheme
London 1900's
Beat Culture
Hippie Culture

Works Cited

The Battle of Hernani has been called the fall of the "Classicist stronghold" (Easton 57) and a triumph for the Romantics. It was not only a victory for Romanticism, though, as many bohemians used it as a chance to upend convention and flaunt their 'otherness.' Here is how:

The members of Hugo's salon were busy, their careers growing every day, so eventually Hugo "opened his house to youngsters with a little more time on their hands, to the budding writer and the artist-elect" (Easton 50). Many of his original recruits were dismayed at this, having hoped to maintain the exclusivity of the old group. Hernani was a play by Hugo which exhaulted the Romantic ideals and condemned those of the Classicals. Hugo hatched a plan, enlisting his young recruits to ensure a full house on opening night, February 25th, 1830.

He had red slips - in essence tickets for free admission - distributed in order to pack the house. Naturally, many of the young people who attended this free performance were artists and writers of Bohemia, and they didn't go quietly. Swarms of members of the Romantic and Bohemian community attended the performance, and what ensued has been described in far too many books for it to be left unquoted:
The crowd at Hernani as the two factions, Romantics and Classicals, try to out-boo and out-cheer each other.  
"the arrival of the train-bands outside the Comedie-Francaise at three o'clock in the afternoon; a four-hour wait in the locked auditorium; the disgust of the fashionable audience, arriving at seven o'clock and finding the theatre turned into a public restaurant - and worse; finally, the revolutionary nature of the play, given with evident disapproval by the actors themselves, and attended by scuffles and interruptions beyond the footlights" (Easton 52).

The Battle of Hernani was one of the most outrageous and outspoken examples of rebellion against classical ideals and Bourgeois hypocrisy. The "Romantic Army" attended the production in outlandish clothing, mocking the wealthy and mainstream. Hugo remembers the event as such: "...wild whimsical characters, bearded, long-haired, dressed in every fashion except the reigning one, in pea-jackets, Spanish cloaks, in waistcoats a la Robespierre, in Henry III bonnets...and this in the middle of Paris in broad daylight" (Easton 53).