Bohemians: A Graphic History by Paul BuhleBohemians: A Graphic History by Paul Buhle

Bohemians: A Graphic History

EditorPaul Buhle, David Berger

Paperback | April 15, 2014

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The nineteenth-century countercultures that came to define the bohemian lifestyle spanned both sides of the Atlantic, ranging from Walt Whitman to Josephine Baker, and from Gertrude Stein to Thelonius Monk. Bohemians is the graphic history of this movement and its illustrious figures, recovering the utopian ideas behind millennial communities, and covering the rise of Greenwich Village, the multiracial and radical jazz world, and West Coast and Midwest bohemians, among other scenes.

Drawn by an all-star cast of comics artists, including rising figures like Sabrina Jones, Lance Tooks, and Summer McClinton, alongside established artists like Peter Kuper and Spain Rodriguez, Bohemians is a broad and entertaining account of the rebel impulse in American cultural history.

featuring work by Spain Rodriguez, Sharon Rudahl, Peter Kuper,  Sabrina Jones, David Lasky, Afua Richardson, Lance Tooks, Milton Knight, and others.

The ebook edition is expanded from the paperback edition, and includes additional chapters on the swing music scene, La Boheme and midwest bohemians, as well as expanded material on the Greenwich Village intellectuals, Walt Whitman and Harlem jazz club Minton's Playhouse.
Paul Buhle retired from Brown University and Providence, Rhode Island in 2009, to Madison, Wisconsin and full-time work editing comics. His many books include the Verso volumes Marxism in the United States (third edition, 2013), Wobblies!, and the authorized biography of C.L.R. James, The Artist as Revolutionary.David Berger was born a...
Title:Bohemians: A Graphic HistoryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 10.47 × 7.46 × 0.75 inPublished:April 15, 2014Publisher:Verso BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1781682615

ISBN - 13:9781781682616

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good But Doesn't Prove Theme Bohemian as defined by the Oxford dictionary: "a socially unconventional person, especially one who is involved in the arts". This is a non-fiction graphic anthology that tells the history of "bohemianism" from the 1840s to the 1950s/early 60s stopping just prior to the "Beat Generation". Each chapter is written and/or illustrated by a different author/artist making for a varied reading experience. The book is hard for me to rate as I will relate. However, I did enjoy the book very much as an historical and biographical text of a certain type of artist during this time period. I'm well-read in Victorian and pre-WWII history so found the first part of this book familiar territory for me and mostly what I had expected from the book. Stories of the artistic type (writers, dancers, artists, poets, etc and those who supported them) that defies social conventions, gathers in salons, talks about current events with disapproval, is involved in scandal, lives without moderation and is sexually promiscuous. The book concentrates on the American scene and in this part of the book we are first introduced to Bohemian origins in artisan Paris, then move to the New World with Julia Branch, Ada Clare, Walt Whitman, Victorian suffragists with artistic bents, Gertrude Stein et al. and Oscar Wilde. This is all in keeping with the subject of the book and the Bohemian becomes recognized as someone who agonizes and suffers over their art, is sexually permissive and deviant mostly involving multiple lovers of either sex, adultery and sexual relations outside of marriage. It is also quite plain from the beginning of the text that the author is very left wing as he blatantly speaks as though being anti-Communist is a *bad* thing (?!) It is then at this point where I found the book frustrating, though I still enjoyed the material, found the historical information interesting and learned a lot of new things personally. However, the editors seem to have lost touch with the topic as the next section is all about Communists and Communist sympathizers who were artists. Does being an ultra left-wing artist make you Bohemian? Then the last part of the book is about African-American artists (mostly musicians and dancers) who of course were engaged in the Civil Rights movement. Was it socially unconventional for a black person to be fighting for civil rights? I would suggest not. I expected to find Josephine Baker here, rightly so, but Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Langston Hughes? So two of them were either bi. or *may* have been gay; they didn't lead flamboyant, promiscuous lifestyles. Does simply being black, an artist and possibly a closeted gay make you Bohemian. Again, referring back to Oxford's definition I think not. So in the end, I enjoyed the book as a strangely unconnected history. The information was entertaining and interesting; the comic art was well done and I knew several of the illustrators involved (Milton Knight, Lance Tooks, Matt Howarth, etc) but the editors failed to provide a clear understanding of Bohemians and prove it with specific examples.
Date published: 2014-04-17

Editorial Reviews

"both a visual treat and an edifying look at alternative visual culture." —Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW“A terrific appraisal of culture’s gypsies, tramps and thieves, worthy of the editors’ judgment: Obituaries for bohemia have, in short, always been premature.””—Kirkus Reviews“Engaging, informative and inspiring.” JOE SACCO, author of Palestine “Great introduction to an American century of influences, individuals and scenes producing ideas for the future to engage.” SARAH SCHULMAN, author of The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination"Words become graphic, and the graphics bring Bohemia alive in this wonderful history compiled by Buhle and Berger. There is nothing worse than being severed from one's own roots, as demonstrated by decades of identity movements; there is nothing worse than being stripped of one's heritage, unless it's the theft of identity by thieving oppressors. This graphic anthology beautifully reconstructs the roots of America's counter-culture from the lost stories of men and women, black and white, gay and straight, who were the original refuseniks of Bohemia. I can't wait for more." Tom Hayden, author of The Long Sixties, former State Senator and leader of Sixties peace, justice and environmental movements Praise for Buhle's Wobblies:"Excavates an essential part of American history ... and does so with style, great graphics, and no punches pulled."—Luc Sante"The excitement and inspiration of their creative and courageous work is brilliantlycaptured in this wonderful graphic history."—Noam ChomskyPraise for Paul Buhle and Howard Zinn's A People's History of the American Empire:"Ingenious in its conception and brilliant in execution. It is urgently necessary for our times: read this book and see how to raise your voice against all the forces that would drown you out. A modern activist's primer!"—Ben Affleck