Bohemia: a “religion” or a “sport”? A dialectic view on bourgeois and artists identities and representations (Lisbon, 1910-1930)
Second International Conference of Young Urban Researchers (SICYUrb)
At the end of the first half of the nineteenth century, a social and cultural phenomenon rose up in Paris, known as Bohemia. This was a result of the increasingly emphasis on individualization, city growth and industrialization.The Bohemia reflects a particular and identifiable kind of life, shaped by three aspects: art, youth and marginality. The term refers particularly to the artists who recognize themselves as such and seek to define their values in contrast to a bourgeois lifestyle. In fact, this opposition does not translate itself into a real radical separation or hostility, but rather a mutual attraction. Bohemia and bourgeois society emerge and define themselves simultaneously and mutualy delimitate the boundaries of each other. In this paper I wil analyse the representations of bohemian and bourgeois figures that stand out in some mudane sociabilities of Lisbon night in the early decades of the twentieth century. Both figures aim for cosmopolitan and modern customs and practices, in witch urban bohemian is preceived as crucial to their status definition. For the artist, bohemia emerges as an almost condition of his artistic production; for the bourgeoisie, bohemia represents a leisure practice essencial to a civilized lifestyle. These two identities will mark and determine the configuration and characterization of social spaces and practices that are simultaneously striking for the definition of urban space and the idea of the city and its representations. The subject will be approached mainly from the literary and artistic representations of these two figures of Lisbon nightlife: the bourgeois and the bohemian artist.
bohemianism; artists; youth; marginality; Lisbon