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.
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.
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).