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Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900–1939
 
 
Author
Virginia Nicholson.
Publisher Perennial  
Format paperback
ISBN 9780060548469
Pages/Publication Date 362/2005
Daedalus Item Code 49049
List Price: $15.99
Sale Price: $11.95
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(A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2002) They ate garlic and didn't always bathe; they listened to Wagner and worshiped Diaghilev; they sent their children to coeducational schools, explored homosexuality and free love, and took to vegetarianism and postimpressionism. The bohemians, as Virginia Nicholson paints them, were often drunk, strapped for cash, and sometimes hungry. But they were of a rebellious spirit, sharing England with Philistines and Puritans as a parallel minority of moral pioneers, living in a world of faulty fireplaces, bounced checks, blocked drains, whooping cough, and incontinent cats. Nicholson—granddaughter of Bloomsbury painter Vanessa Bell and great-niece of her sister Virginia Woolf—explores the subversive, eccentric, and flamboyant artistic community of early 20th century Britain in this "wonderfully researched and colorful composite portrait of an enigmatic world whose members, because they lived by no rules, are difficult to characterize" (SFChronicle).

"In a vibrant catalogue of anecdotes and tragicomic episodes, Nicholson pays homage to British writers and artists who challenged convention before the Second World War. Living for art could exact a price—Robert Graves, hoping to subsidize his writing, made a disastrous foray into shopkeeping, while a destitute Dylan Thomas used his books as furniture. For Nicholson, such recklessly hand-to-mouth living is downright heroic. Although the eccentric domestic arrangements of the Bloomsbury group are a familiar topic, she casts her net wide to include lesser-known figures like Nina Hamnett, a fixture at London's Café Royal, and Betty May—the cocaine addicted model of the sculptor Jacob Epstein—whose signature dish was grilled mouse on toast."—The New Yorker

 
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