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Among the Bohemians

Bohemia is a hard country to place, yet it was utterly familiar to the people who inhabited it from the turn of the century until the outbreak of World War II, a place where to be different was to be accepted. Here artists felt at home and among friends - some rich, some poor, talented and untalented, who believed in friendship more than family and who by their very differences proclaimed to be part of a confederacy. Among these self-styled bohemians were Ralph Partridge, Nancy Nicholson, Arthur Ransome, Rupert Brooke, Virginia Woolfe, Duncan Grant, Katherine Mansfield, and Dylan and Caitlin Thomas - and many others in this expanding circle of talented individuals. These people were in the avant-garde not only for their art, but possibly even more significantly, for a new kind of social life which has become so accepted today that we barely notice how utterly we have assimilated it and made it our own.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 Paying the price: why is poverty so romantic?; why do artists despise money?; how does one survive while producing something that no one will buy?; what does an artist do who runs out of money?; does being rich disqualify one from Bohemia?; if being Bohemian means being poor, is the gain worth the pain? Part 2 All for love: what is wrong with talking about sex?; what is wrong with sex outside marriage?; why shouldn't self-expression extend to the bedroom?; is homosexuality wrong?; must relationships be confined to members of the same sex, class and colour?; is marriage a meaningful institution?; is there such a thing as free love? Part 3 Children of light: what is it like to be brought up in Bohemia?; should children be kept clean and tidy?; should children be given rules and punishments?; how do you bring up a creative child?; should children be educated, and if so, how? Part 4 Dwelling with beauty: how can one recognise a Bohemian interior?; does one really need furniture?; how can one live beautifully and cheaply?; is innovation in design compatible with authentic living?; do things have to match? what is the point of wallpaper?; must furniture be new?; is comfort more important that appearance; is living the simple life the answer to poverty? Part 5 Glorious apparel: what do one's clothes tell people about one's beliefs?; does one have to wear what other people wear?; must one wear sober colours?; evening dress? corsets?; which is more important, comfort or appearance?; must women wear skirts?; must men be clean-shaven?; is jewellery wrong for men?; do clothes have to be expensive to be beautiful? (Part contents).


About the Author

Virginia Nicholson is the granddaughter of Vanessa Bell. A freelance jouralist and researcher, she is Deputy Chairman of The Charleston Trust. Her first book was Charleston: A Bloomsbury House and Garden. Virginia Nicholson lives in Sussex.

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