Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Bohemia in America, 1858-1920$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Joanna Levin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804760836

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804760836.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 28 May 2022

The “Vault at Pfaff's”: Whitman, Bohemia, and the Saturday Press

The “Vault at Pfaff's”: Whitman, Bohemia, and the Saturday Press

(p.13) 1 The “Vault at Pfaff's”: Whitman, Bohemia, and the Saturday Press
Bohemia in America, 1858-1920
Stanford University Press

Bohemianism provides an integral standpoint from which to view the development of urban life and class formation in the United States. In order to discover the first self-identified American Bohemians, it is necessary to explore the counterculture unstably contained within the national geography of bourgeois identity, consciousness, and expression. This chapter focuses on the emergence of Bohemia in New York City in the late 1850s, focusing on Henry Clapp Jr. and Pfaff's beer cellar. An iconoclast who came from Paris, Clapp harbored the idea of recreating la vie bohème in Pfaff's beer cellar. His circle included Walt Whitman, who composed a poem entitled “The Vault at Pfaff's,” which he left unfinished. The chapter compares the Bohemians' self-descriptions to less favorable representations of the group, providing a case study in the (mutually constitutive) relationship between the Bohemians and their “bourgeois” antagonists. Many of the Bohemians who gathered at Pfaff's—such as journalists, artists, and poets—wrote for, or illustrated, Harper's, the New York Leader, Vanity Fair, and the Saturday Press, which became the circle's house organ.

Keywords:   Bohemia, Bohemianism, la vie bohème, bourgeois, New York City, Bohemians, Henry Clapp Jr, Pfaff's beer cellar, Walt Whitman, Saturday Press

Stanford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.