Bohemianism and Counter-Culture


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Writers of Bohemia


Many of the members of Bohemia had delusions of grandeur when it came to writing. While students played at being poor, they'd scribble some poetry. If they were fortunate enough to sell the poetry, it earned almost nothing. Prose paid slightly better, at a mere five centimes a line (Easton 117.)



Writers' best hopes, in the vein of Murger, would be the Corsaire, and other editorial-offices. While it paid very little, it could lead to bigger and better things. For example, a paragraph that saw print in the Corsaire, could lead to a short story, later that could be published in a book, or translated to the stage, either way getting the material to a larger public. From there it could be placed in well-paid journals in serial form. (Easton 117)

From his own life, Murger wrote Scenes de la vie de Boheme about characters from the true-life 'state' of Bohemia. Included, was Rodolfe, one of the main characters. He was editor of a magazine about the hat industry entitled The Beaver. Not content to report merely on the progress of the trade, however, he included some of his friend Colline's article on the philosophy of hat-making.


Murger, sketch by Montader

Writers in general already had more prestige than their painter counterparts, but that was often due to aristocratic wrtiers before the Revolution. In the 'land' of Bohemia, struggling writers could only hope for the few centimes, and a chance at gaining the fame and success of writers like Hugo and Murger.