Virginia Nicholson's "Among the Bohemians" is a portrait of England's artistic community in the first half of the twentieth century, engaged in a grand experiment. Subversive, eccentric and flamboyant - the Bohemians ate garlic and didn't always wash; they painted and danced and didn't care what people thought. They sent their children to co-ed ...
Virginia Nicholson's "Among the Bohemians" is a portrait of England's artistic community in the first half of the twentieth century, engaged in a grand experiment. Subversive, eccentric and flamboyant - the Bohemians ate garlic and didn't always wash; they painted and danced and didn't care what people thought. They sent their children to co-ed schools; explored homosexuality and Free Love. They were often drunk, broke and hungry but they were rebels. In this fascinating book Virginia Nicholson examines the way the Bohemians refashioned the way we live our lives. "Interesting, gorgeous, wonderful...this book displays the best of bohemia itself - playful, dazzling, original". (Julie Burchill, "Spectator"). "Racy, vivacious, warm-hearted. Offers an illuminating and well-researched portrait of life among the artists, a century ago". ("TLS"). Virginia Nicholson was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She has worked as a documentary researcher for BBC Television and her first book, "Charleston - A Bloomsbury House and Garden" (written in collaboration with her father, Quentin Bell), was an account of the Sussex home of her grandmother, the painter Vanessa Bell. Her second book, "Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939", was published by Penguin in 2002. She lives in Sussex.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-01-12 Nicholson, granddaughter of painter Vanessa Bell and great-niece of Virginia Woolf, is uniquely qualified to write about the experimental lifestyle of her grandparents' generation. The early 20th-century British bohemians-Bloomsbury and their extended circles, and lesser-known rebels like Roy Campbell and Jacob Epstein-rejected bourgeois Victorian values and embraced life as art, open marriage, Rousseau-influenced education and even poverty. Perhaps because she is an insider (despite having been born well after its heyday), Nicholson is able to communicate the ideals and desires of this generation without romanticizing it. The exhilaration of the bohemians' freedom and the hardships of the poverty in which many chose to live are equally portrayed. Their children place a golden haze on their youth but also blame their parents for not providing a rigorous education and a few rules to guide their way. The reader could also easily get impatient with how these talented individuals seemed determined to destroy themselves (the epilogue in particular reads like a catalogue of lives left ravaged by passions), but Nicholson effectively argues that theirs was the energy of true rebellion and implies that the excess was necessary to break with the constricting bonds of the past-and that the circle of bohemia ultimately changed how we all live. Although this account is written in a neutral, almost dry style as Nicholson examines the bohemians' daily lives thematically (sexual freedom, child-rearing, styles in clothing and interior decoration, etc.), the intimate conversations and salacious details related still titillate like gossip. Readers interested in the art, literature and personalities of this era will not be disappointed. B&w photos, illus. (Mar. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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