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Bohemian Manifesto: A Field Guide to Living on the Edge Hardcover – November 2, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Stover (The Bombshell Manual of Style) wrote her playful anthropology of Bohemian culture from an insider’s viewpoint. The daughter of Bohemians, at one time a fully practicing Bohemian, and a now a Bohemian "with some bourgeois pretense," she is clearly steeped in the lifestyle. In this book, she documents the most important attributes of the five variations of Bohemians (Nouveau, Gypsy, Beat, Zen and Dandy) and of Bohemian philosophy generally, beginning with a "diagnosis" that serves mostly to emphasize how varied Bohemians are and how fiercely they resist any kind of classification. Stover is fully aware of the futile nature of her quest to pin down such elusive characters, and her writing is accordingly ironic, full of asides and amusing pseudo-scholarly footnotes. The book’s four main parts describe Bohemians in all their counterculture splendor, with short sections on everything from typical Bohemian names ("they name their offspring with the same whimsical sensibility with which they name their pets"), clothes, typical relationships, choice of reading material and music, and eating habits (featuring "The Twenty-Four-Hour Menu of the Starving Bohemian"). In fictionalized profiles of nine Bohemians from around the world, including Dantini the septuagenarian magician and Atlas the Dutch artist, Stover brings these unusual figures to life in a wonderfully familiar way. True Bohemians certainly won’t need this book to decide whether they’re Bohemian, but may enjoy these humorous takes on their subculture, and non-Bohemians will find it a delightful introduction to that unique existence.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Laren Stover is the author of The Bombshell Manual of Style, and a novel, Pluto, Animal Lover, a finalist for The Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers award. She has been a resident of Yaddo and Hawthornden Castle and received the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation grant for fiction in 1991. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Bomb, and The New York Observer. She lives in New York.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch; Second Printing edition (November 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821228900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821228906
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that you can read over and over again. It's not only humorous in its descriptions of Bohemian living, but it's a wonderful escape from the rampant materialism that drives our everyday world. The Bohemian doesn't worry about cleaning or working or any of those things that we think about constantly. Instead, Bohemian life centers on sensual and intellectual pleasures. Instead of "playing the game", they do what they really want to do, whatever that may be, despite the consequences. It's an incredibly seductive image to those like me who are scared of being trapped in the corporate box, which seems to lie in wait for everyone at some point in their lives.

Laren Stover obviously has knowledge of her subject, unlike some other writers who treat Bohemianism academically. Instead of presenting us with a romanticized image of care-free Bohemians, she presents us with the human side of the Bohemians. Although she does not dwell on the downside to to Bohemianism, the picture she paints is no less real. This book does not inspire me with the urge to abandon my home, family, and friends and hit the road with some traveling band of street performers. But it does inspire me to look at my life in a new way, and to adopt ways to live more naturally, outside the confines of the narrowly-defined norms that dictate our behavior, and sometimes even out thoughts. Bohemian Manifesto indeed provides us with a way out. I recommend that everyone read and take from this book something that will rescue them from the trappings of modern society.
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Format: Hardcover
Terrific! If this book had come out when I was 18 (drinking green chartreuse while reading Anais Nin in my dorm room ) I could have spared myself an identity crisis and found a reassuring and wonderful roadmap of lifestyle possibilities.

Instead I had to do it the intuitive way, calling myself a "medieval hippy" when I was, in fact,an emerging part of the Great and Venerable Bohemian Tribe! Give this book to your young artistic friends so they don't just give up and become Goths! Read it with joy if you want to celebrate the magical and often hilarious ways (without means) of the true Bohemians, eternal rebels and stardust children.

Now, as a practicing "BoBomb" (Bohemian Bombshell of course) I bought this book and loved every charming and wry page, especially those with illustrations.(The best books are illustrated, n'est ce pas?) It's refreshing to find a book which puts its values in the right place- measuring one's life by the next trip,creative meal,painting,performance,costume made or poetry read rather than the witless bottom line.

For if you ARE a true Bohemian there is no cure. "Abandon all hope Ye who enter here!" You might never come back, but in the Bohemian Manifesto we have Ms. Stover, Bohemian Scribe, to charmingly navigate the scene of the "divinely seductive" and the "deviant".

I can't help imagining her living in her Greenwich Village walk-up, surrounded by taxidermy, alabaster busts, and maybe a weasel or two. What does she drink? Chartreuse? Absinthe? Or perhaps Champagne....

The Bohemian Manifesto is about living large in a palace of your mind. After reading it you might even be surprised to find yourself, as I did, singing "Vissi D'Arte, Vissi D'Amore" !
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Format: Hardcover
I have for a long time considered myself a Bohemian. This book summarized every aspect of the lifestyle beautifully. Yes, there are some cliché's among its pages, and the book is written with a touch of humor, but I find that it doesn't mar the beauty or quality of Ms. Stover's book. It is filled with references to famous Bohemians in history, and lists dozens of unique books, movies, and music that are essential to the culture. The word 'Bohemian' has been commercialized over the years, and mutilated into such phrases as `boho-chic' and whatever else fashion magazines want to advertise, or 20 something's want to buy into. Bohemia was a culture that was the opposite of trends, conformity, or mainstream culture. It was sometimes blissful, sometimes agonizing, but always rich with art and a unique beauty that lingered long after it passed. I believe it's still possible to live a life dedicated to the lifestyle and culture, and this book is a little relic to lend you a helping hand and show you how it's possible.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is my favorite book. I have read it several times and have taken the little personal quiz at the end at least five times... It's not a book meant to taken seriously...it's not a dictionary or a self-help book or even a true 'field guide' for that matter. Just entertainment. I have never come acorss another book where the author describes things in such delicious ways. I can actullay see, quite vividly, in my head everything that she is describing; colors, shapes, smells, sounds... and the illustrations are simply amazing. A great read for all bohemians, bohemian wannabes or someone who is just simply curious...
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Format: Hardcover
I got this book from a friend for my birthday. She said that I reminded her of the "Dandy" bohemian. I can't believe how perfect and handsome the book is. Being a true bohemian I don't need help in learning what to do but this book is so funny and true. And is very well researched-the author even knew that the Romantic poet Coleridge wrote with his gout medicine when he ran out of ink! I recognize several of my friends in these pages and will be getting them their own copies for Christmas. It makes being an outsider seem normal.

Great artwork, too!
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