This is Not a Dissertation: (Neo)Neo-Bohemian Connections

Walter Moore, Purdue University


This dissertation uses/packages selected post-World War II literature, film, and photography to identify and analyze various aspects/nuances and influences/connections of/on/to Neo-Bohemia in the contemporary United States, and aims to show how these textual associations and analyses interconnect with particular American cities and (neo)bohemian neighborhoods along with these spaces’/places’ related residents and players. These interconnections shed light on a particular kind of gentrification process: the tendency of struggling artists/bohemians to bring attention and investment to their chosen U.S. urban neighborhoods. These dynamics then fit on an arc-of-transformation—of a lower-class/working-class and/or abandoned place into a neo-bohemian zone of art and entertainment—but these dynamics also (inter)connect with a gentrification-of-the-imaginary among participants and onlookers/certain consumers of a (neo)bohemian fantasy who physically and mentally buy/“buy” into the myth of the struggling/starving artist (and her habitus) and thus seek out an alternate location of art, creativity, and what many consider as outside of society; for, my given texts both materially and fantastically speak to the pre-gentrification-to-neo-bohemian-gentrification plot points of this arc. In this writing—while highlighting the texts of Allen Ginsberg, Nelson Algren, Otto Preminger, Art Shay, S.E. Hinton, Francis Ford Coppola, Larry Clark, and a few others—I interweave incorporation and analyses of beat members, post-WWII working-class hipster characters, and the 1950s-based teenage rebel to show how these “early gentrifiers” have inspired the conditions of contemporary postmodern U.S. neo-bohemia. As the gentrification plot sails, as middle and upper class consumers buy into these conditions, I incorporate elements of the 1960s counterculture, aspects of pop-cultural and experimental film and photography, along with postmodern hipster modes of being, among a few other related representations and rhizomes that relate to and inspire parts of this process. My spotlighted neighborhoods for these applications/ connections/ arc(s) include New York’s the Lower East Side, Chicago’s Wicker Park, and Tulsa’s Blue Dome Zone. This dissertation begins with Bohemia and ends with Neo-Bohemia, but the arc remains a gritty one with an appropriate amount of stops, detours, and backtracking/overlapping—along with, of course, a requisite supply of fantasy and consumption. Bohemians and neo-bohemians alike—via stories, images, and the flesh—have historically and continually inspired and attracted consumers to particular U.S. urban neighborhoods in particular.




Duerfahrd, Purdue University.

Subject Area

American studies|American literature|Film studies

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