American Cultural Rebels

Avant-Garde and Bohemian Artists, Writers and Musicians from the 1850s through the 1960s

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About the Book

Artistic vanguards plot new aesthetic movements, print controversial magazines, hold provocative art shows, and stage experimental theatrical and musical performances. These revolutionaries have often helped create America’s countercultural movements, from the early romantics and bohemians to the beatniks and hippies.
This work looks at how experimental art and the avant-garde artists’ lifestyles have influenced, and at times transformed, American culture since the mid-nineteenth century. The work will introduce readers to these artists and rebels, making a careful distinction between the worlds of the high modern artist (salons and galleries) and the bohemian.

About the Author(s)

Roy Kotynek is professor emeritus of history, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan. He lives in Rochester.
Professional musician and author John Cohassey has contributed numerous biographical and cultural entries for Gale Research. He lives in Pontiac, Michigan. Both Koytnek and Cohassey served as consultants for the History Channel program Hippies (2007).

Bibliographic Details

Roy Kotynek and John Cohassey
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 262
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3709-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2065-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

I. FATAL DESTINIES      5

Restless Youth: The Roots of Nineteenth-Century Countercultures      5

Visions of Utopia      9

Apprentices in the City of Light      12

The Arrival of Bohemia      15

II. GILDED AGE VANGUARDS      21

Bohemian Frontiers      21

Lafcadio Hearn’s New Orleans      25

Bohemian Clubs      27

Stirrings Across the Sea      29

American Aesthetes      32

The Trilby Craze      34

Bohemian Demimondes      36

Symbolists and Decadents      39

III. MODERN TEMPERS, MODERN TIMES      47

Crosscurrents of Liberation      47

Jack London’s Piedmont Crowd      51

Anarchists, Moderns, and the Robert Henri Circle      54

Stieglitz and Stein, Proponents of the New      57

Poetry in Porkopolis      61

IV. “CITY OF AMBITION”      68

Modernism’s Storm Center      68

Voices of Young America      69

Assemblages of a Different Kind      73

The Village Idea      83

V. AMERICANS IN PARIS      89

A Lost Generation?      89

The Left Bank      92

The Free City of Montmartre      94

American Enclaves      96

Independent Presses, Little Magazines      100

Life Among the Dadaists and Surrealists      103

A Musical Training Ground      107

Moderns on the Riviera      112

VI. THE SEARCH FOR AMERICA      115

The Primacy of Place      115

Stieglitz’s Constellation      116

“Land of Buried Cultures”      117

Hollywood Decadence      119

“Paris in My Own Backyard”      121

The Chicagoans      125

“Harlem Nocturne”      127

The Village Transformed      131

VII. RADICALS AND MODERNS      134

The Turn Leftward      134

Theater of Revolt      143

The Mainstreaming of Modernism      147

VIII. “BOHEMIA AFTER DARK”: MODERN JAZZ AND THE BEAT GENERATION      155

Bebop Makes the Scene      155

The Epitome of Hip      159

Beats of the New Vision      162

San Francisco’s Angel-Headed Hipsters      168

The Beat of the Beat Generation      171

Voices of the Village      173

Beatnik Bohemias      175

IX. THE 1960S MUSICAL AVANT-GARDES      178

Experiments of the Mind, Experiments of the Machine      178

Electronic Composers      179

The Jazz Freedom Principle      181

Trane and Miles      184

X. THE ADVERSARY CULTURE      190

“Revolution in the Air”      190

Duchamp’s Shadow      190

The Living Theatre      193

Happenings      195

East Village Others      197

California’s Musical Rainbow      201

L.A. Freak-out      211

Epilogue      217

Chapter Notes      221

Bibliography      233

Index      251