19 February 2013

La Vie Boheme, or La Vita Nuova?

Greetings from a rainy, foggy, afternoon!

If you'll notice I have changed the site from blue to predominantly red and orange. I like this better. Most of my everyday sites are very blue. (And please don't mention Facebook. But I understand they have blue too.) So I decided to be different. I'll be discussing that a bit today, anyway.

Today's post isn't really much. Call it a Triviality if you want. Triviality III. It's Tuesday, after all. Just "some random thoughts in my head." ~Peter Bishop

I've been reading The Divine Comedy, or La Commedia, for Lent. Not sure why. I guess I have the whole suffering-Hell-evil thing going on. Oh, yeah, I'm doing Faustus in theatre class right now, so let's see how that goes.

How does Commedia tie into today? Dante wrote it, along with La Vita Nuova, or The New Life. He was a rather...interesting fellow. He met his wonderful Beatrice when he was nine. Over the course of his life he met her twice more, albeit briefly.

And he fell in love with her. And wrote poems and dedicated them to her.

Now, I could criticize Dante. I could wax lyrical on how creepy that was, more disturbing, actually, and if he didn't bother looking for anyone else. But I won't. Because it's kind of messed up, and the guy's dead, and he wrote pretty cool poems. The Nine Circles of Hell, anyone? (Actually, it's likely that he believed Beatrice was more of a savior. He isn't really concerned with how pretty and wonderful she was as a person - he imagined her more as a force of good, like Jesus, who stopped him from doing evil things.)

So yeah. And then Beatrice never went with him - even if he was respected in his time - until the Pope came along and hated Dante for a bunch of religious stuff. And then he died, and long story short, he's buried next to Beatrice.  (Is he? I read that somewhere...correct me if I'm wrong, please!)


Ah, the Bohemian life! How I love it. It's AMAZING.

Bohemians, if you don't know, are vagabonds. But they're much more than that! They are artists - the unconventional, eccentric people who are genii but aren't respected in their lifetime. They're discovered afterwards.

Oscar Wilde (my favorite author, by the way), Ernest Hemingway, van Gogh, Shelley, Lord Byron...

Bohemians just don't care about other people. They're not typically "mainstream". They're the obscure people who do weird stuff because they like it. Most of them were the real wild, warped ones (smoking hashish, drinking absinthe, etc.) but, hey! They were genii. I'm not defending them but just pointing it out.

Like Christian in Moulin Rouge, the 20th-century image of them were the typewriter-owning people, who lived in Paris in tenements, sat in cafes all day long, and wrote in notebooks.

The term "Bohemians" came from Bohemia, which used to be the archaic term for Czechoslovakia (think Sherlock Holmes). Erroneously, gypsies were called that (and they shouldn't even be called gypsies. Gypsies implies they're Egyptian. The correct term is Romany or Romani. So if you ever meet one, be sure to call them Romani and get some hedgehog goulash.) :D

So, what do you think? Are you gonna call gypsies Romani from now on? What do you think about Dante and his love for Beatrice which wasn't returned? Sound off in the comments!



  1. It's interesting that I've been listening to you talk for weeks about Bohemians and only just now learned what they are.

    I don't think that Dante was being weird, personally. Because one, he wasn't like stalking her or something... that would be weird and alarming. But he had met someone he found inspirational and built an idea of her off of the rare moments he had shared with her. And so I am fairly positive that he wasn't in love with Beatrice. But he was in love with an idea named Beatrice. Seems like things went pretty okay for him.

    Is that where Lemony Snicket got his Beatrice from?

    Bohemians sound pretty cool though. :)

    (Also, I like the orange.)

  2. Well, Erika/Heather, now you know.

    I like your phrasing that she was an "idea". That makes more sense. He dedicated his works to an idea, a genesis that started it all.

    I actually thought that also. Jiminy Cricket - I mean Lemony Snicket was also obsessed with a Beatrice, so maybe that's where it's from.

    1. No need to be redundant... They mean the same thing.

      Totally. I mean, it's kind of like a theme. There are lots of authors out there who stick to writing about really specific genres, so writing about a "person" who embodies those ideas isn't too different.

      XD I do realize that he likes to reference stuff. It's kind of cool to go back now that I'm a little older and understand a little more and be like "LOL!" Like that "For Esme with Squalor" that you showed me.