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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 44 [newspaper clipping], ca. 1857

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Identifier: DX03438003

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 44 [newspaper clipping], ca. 1857

Description: Newspaper clipping of article written by an unknown author for the Sunday Mercury that pokes fun at Fitz James O'Brien and literary Bohemians.


[Gunn's handwriting] A slap at [Fitz James] O'Brien from the "Sunday Mercury" — Don't know who wrote it.

Coincidences of Character.

Curious coincidences occur every day if we had only leisure to examine and collate them. They get in our path sometimes, and we stumble over them. This arrests, of course, our attention; for with Yankee shrewdness, we pause to ascertain if they are not sixpence providentially applied to direct us to go to Windust’s and avoid wickedness. And in that pause, we think, we reflect, we "calculate." One of these coincidences snared us like a pitfall, the other day. It caught our intellectual foot, tripped us up, and brought us so violently in contact with a pavemented idea, that, if we did not "see stars," we perceived a solemn truth so clearly it was impossible to misunderstand its nature or mistake proportions. On picking up, for instance, one city journal, [Gunn’s handwriting: Home Journal] we were fragrantly assured that a certain young gentleman [Fitz James O'Brien], who shall be for manifest reasons nameless was the author of a very able and attractive article [Gunn's handwriting: —"The Diamond Lens"—] in a new and talented monthly magazine. The same journal, though, while lauding the author as a brilliant "magazinist," pronounced him a "well-known literary Bohemian." Turning to a morning paper, [Gunn's handwriting: Daily Times] the same day, we learned that a "Bohemian" was either "an artist or an author whose special aversion is work;" who is "perfectly reckless as to money and decidedly given to debt;" who is "necessarily second-rate in all he does, but first-rate in his companionable qualities;" who, in short, is a literary loafer, with talent enough to earn his own living, but with inclinations irresistible to live and enjoy life, to eat, and drink, to dance and to sing, at the expense of the verdancy or good-nature of others. We stood enlightened in a moment. The bump we had suddenly been possessed of, was the bump of knowledge. The two journals had, as if by accident, explained each other. We knew the "Bohemian" like a book—a play-book we’ll say. The very club when he professed like a verb to "Bee, to do and to suffer," but where everybody else had to be, account in hand, and to "suffer" for his indulgences, Houston streeted across our irradiated memory. Clubs are no longer "trumps" in that sense. "Whisht" is the word about their little peculiarities; but, we shall never meet with the word "Bohemian," we are confident, without thinking of those two journals and their coincident illustration.

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: ca. 1857

Type(s): Clipping, Newspaper

Maker/Creator: Sunday Mercury

Subjects: Bohemians (New York artistic and literary movement)


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