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Bohemians
Cover of Bohemians
Bohemians
A Graphic History
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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.

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.

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About the Author-
  • 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 and raised first in Brooklyn and then in that most bohemian of suburbs, Croton-on-Hudson. He currently writes, teaches and occupies Wall Street while residing in Chelsea with his wife, the singer/songwriter Audra MsBlu Berger.

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2014
    What do Walt Whitman, Josephine Baker and Woody Guthrie have in common? Here, their lives are interwoven with the artistic and cultural movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, all under the umbrella of "bohemianism." Brooklyn-based writer Berger and prolific graphic-arts editor Buhle (A People's History of American Empire: A Graphic Adaptation, 2008, etc.) make fine selections in this thoughtful successor to Harvey Pekar's The Beats: A Graphic History (2009). In a thorough introduction, Buhle explains the roots of the idea of bohemianism: The real Bohemia, a geographical entity eventually swallowed up by the Czech Republic, was misidentified by French journalists as the source of Europe's gypsy culture. But Berger and Buhle focus more on those remarkable individuals and movements whose artistic and political spirits ran contrary to the traditions of their times. The writers get the most attention, with stories devoted to spiritual comrades Whitman, Oscar Wilde and Henry Miller, among others. Two very different stories examine the grace of dancer Baker and the beautiful, messy story of Billie Holiday and the song "Strange Fruit." Other chapters combine stories to capture the origins of cultural movements, such as "Art and the Artist," which portrays the arrival of modern art in New York in 1915 in astonishing detail. Other chapters summarize the arcs of the labor movement, modern dance and the earliest seeds of the folk music movement, represented here by Guthrie. All of the art is bold and visually distinct; fittingly, many of the artists have deep roots in the underground comics scene--e.g., Peter Kuper. A truly poignant coda by cartoonist Mark Crilley imagines a young Pekar and R. Crumb spending a day together in Cleveland, visiting record and book stores, talking shop and lamenting the paving over of the old world. A terrific appraisal of culture's gypsies, tramps and thieves, worthy of the editors' judgment: "Obituaries for bohemia have, in short, always been premature."

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW "both a visual treat and an edifying look at alternative visual culture."
  • Kirkus Reviews "A terrific appraisal of culture's gypsies, tramps and thieves, worthy of the editors' judgment: Obituaries for bohemia have, in short, always been premature.""
  • Noam Chomsky "The excitement and inspiration of their creative and courageous work is brilliantly
    captured in this wonderful graphic history."
  • Ben Affleck "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!"
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A Graphic History
Paul Buhle
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