Marianne Moore: Poetry

March 6, 2010

Hobohemia in “George Moore”

Filed under: Marianne Moore,Poem Sources — by moore123 @ 8:43 pm
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Published in Others 1.6 (December 1915): 105-6,  “George Moore” asks whether

Habitual ennui

Took from you, your invisible, hot helmet of anaemia–

While you were filling your “little glass” from the decanter

Of a transparent-murky, would-be-truthful “hobohemia”–

And then facetiously

Went off with it?

Both the OED and Webster’s offer historical instances of the use of “hobohemia” from 1919 or later. But it is likely that Moore noticed an article in Current Opinion for June, 1915, (Vol. 59, p. 429). In an article on “Sad and Serious Reflections on the First Salon of American Humorists,” there appears a reproduction of a print by Stuart Davis entitled “Hobohemia.”  In it, a group of men and women stand and sit chockablock in a café and the caption reads:  “As depicted by Stuart Davis, one of the youngest and most original humorists of the brush, there is nothing particularly fascinating in this strange field of feminism, futurism, and free verse.” The reviewer most of the exhibition less than amusing.

It should be noted that the index to this volume of Current Opinion gives the Davies image as “’Humorist’ Picture,” the same title given accompanying works by  Edith Dimock and Edward Glackens. Two years later, Sinclair Lewis published his short story “Hobohemia” [Saturday Evening Post 189 ( 7 April 1917)], a thinly veiled portrait of Mabel Dodge’s Fifth Avenue Salon and of other Greenwich Village literati.

Whatever Moore means in making a connection with George Moore, whose autobiographies she had recently read, and American artists, does not come readily to mind.

The link to the issue of Current Events at Google Books is:

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