Word to describe two distinct groups, the first is a group who originated in a region of the Czech Republic known as Romania or Romany.

A restless vagabond; -- originally, an idle stroller or gypsy (as in France) thought to have come from Bohemia; in later times often applied to an adventurer in art or literature, of irregular, unconventional habits, or free morals. Used to describe the Beat Generation in the 50's, the Hippies in the 60's.


Sources: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/rschwart/hist255/bohem/tdefine.html http://home.swbell.net/worchel/define.htm Last Updated 03.07.03

The Bohemians used a magazine/newspaper to communicate to the masses. It had large illustrations and dialogue written in it to make political gestures. Sadly, it was more effective after it was shutdown than during operation, which legitimized their claim of being marginalized. It is important because the Bohemians didn’t have a forum for communication before the group was setup.

“During the first two decades of the twentieth century, a large number of small, subsidized, art and literary magazines were published in the United Sates.” (Susan Herbst) They weren’t profitable because of small distribution. Thus they had little revenue from advertising. The Masses was created in 1911. The point was to accomplish a cooperating owned magazine. It was created by “a Dutchman named Piet Vlag, who also managed a restaurant in New York’s Rand School, a small institution devoted to Socialism and free thought.” (Susan Herbst) He wanted to address his agenda, and explain the cooperative ideal to workers. He thought he might be able to explain and publicize the “cooperative idea” and help others envision worker-controlled shops and factories. This has never really come to fruitation. But after the publication ceased, not too long after, some workers rights came to pass. A 5 day work week, holiday pay and vacation, and 40 hour work weeks to name a few. The fact that the masses used a magazine, but their politics were communicated through art, is really important because it could be interpreted differently through each medium. They often had arguments about using captions in the art. People were into the same ideology, socialism, and found a common bond through the masses in the newspaper. This formed a community with a voice. They gathered behind those people.

The magazine becomes a way to symbolize their marginalization. Now they can have conversations about what they want to talk about. And sometimes it was about why they didn’t have access to the political realm. It was a unique medium, and the only one of its kind. Just like the movie Conspiracy Theory, where only 10 people subscribed to the publications that Mel Gibson’s character wrote, yet the magazine had a strong following too. It published literary things like poetry and art, which sometimes offended the public at large. Copies were distributed through state Socialist party organizations, and who knows, with a little more support we might actually have a viable third party in the United States (or just that one).

Herbst hints that there are some parallels to the Salon era. Both were full of writers, artists, scholars of the sorts, who wanted free-thinking, wanted anarchy, some were feminists too. A bunch of marginalized individuals who band together to create their own political spectrum. They fought the government in their own way they knew how, expression. Libel suits even by the Associated Press made it get trampled upon in the courts. Ironically anything the AP posts becomes (T)ruth immediately, all news sources pick it up and boom its news. Yet the magazine spoke in terms of (t)ruth, and probably was closer to (T)ruth at large anyway. The relative nature of their satire made the reader or viewer come to their own conclusions, instead of being told what to think and what happened as the news would present. That’s why you can’t even really critically analyze the news. It is just “fact.” With a capital T for (T)ruth.

That’s what the magazine was all about. Challenging truth. It was important to members of the community as it banded them together just like the salons in their own time. It allowed for acceptance into a group when everyone else marginalized them. Really fitting is the following quote from a painter in Herbst's book, “As for myself, I never felt the desire to mingle with the people I painted, but observed life as a spectator rather than participant.” That’s exactly how I would imagine most marginalized people’s feel, as only observers. Although this painter may have chosen not to participate (I say he did as a painter), the public may not even have a venue to. At least with the magazine they could post their crazy radical notions, and then maybe give a copy to their understanding neighbor. In all, the magazine allowed for organization. It gave them a medium to function in the political realm and sphere.

To this day there are websites that mimic the intentions of the first Bohemian magazine.

Susan Herbst, Politics at the Margin, Historical Studies of Public Expression Outside the Mainstream, pgs 89-112.

Bo*he"mi*an (?), a.


Of or pertaining to Bohemia, or to the language of its ancient inhabitants or their descendants. See Bohemian, n., 2.


Of or pertaining to a social gypsy or "Bohemian" (see Bohemian, n., 3); vagabond; unconventional; free and easy.


Hers was a pleasant Bohemian life till she was five and thirty. Blackw. Mag.

Artists have abandoned their Bohemian manners and customs nowadays. W. Black.

Bohemian chatterer, ∨ Bohemian waxwing Zool., a small bird of Europe and America (Ampelis garrulus); the waxwing. -- Bohemian glass, a variety of hard glass of fine quality, made in Bohemia. It is of variable composition, containing usually silica, lime, and potash, rarely soda, but no lead. It is often remarkable for beauty of color.


© Webster 1913.

Bo*he"mi*an (?), n.


A native of Bohemia.


The language of the Czechs (the ancient inhabitants of Bohemia), the richest and most developed of the dialects of the Slavic family.


A restless vagabond; -- originally, an idle stroller or gypsy (as in France) thought to have come from Bohemia; in later times often applied to an adventurer in art or literature, of irregular, unconventional habits, questionable tastes, or free morals.


⇒ In this sense from the French boh'emien, a gypsy; also, a person of irregular habits.

She was of a wild, roving nature, inherited from father and mother, who were both Bohemians by taste and circumstances. Thackeray.


© Webster 1913.

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