Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter” as Want to Read:
The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  326 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
"Today, as of old, every man who enters on an artistic career, without any other means of livelihood than his art itself, will be forced to walk in the paths of Bohemia."--from the Preface

Based largely upon Henri Murger's own experiences and those of his fellow artists, The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter was originally produced as a play in 1849 and first appeared in book
Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by University of Pennsylvania Press (first published 1851)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, fiction
It reminds me of the Beat Generation a hundred years earlier. The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter: Scenes de la Vie de Boheme (better known as the source of Giacomo Puccini's opera La Boheme) is about four penniless bohemians: Marcel, Rodolphe, Colline, and Schaunard. They live from meal to meal -- if they are so lucky as not to have to fast -- and they are always in arrears on the rent.

Author Henri Murger has one up on the beatniks, however: All his characters are likeable and generous to a fau
Sarah Greenman
Feb 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paris - the Latin Quarter - the basis for the opera "La Boheme" and the musical "Rent". This crazy romp through Paris in latter half of the 1800's is a riot. A real taste of the poor starving artist and the beginning of a HUGE artistic movement in Paris. A little tough at times because of the dated language - but hilarious, outrageous and romantic. Makes me want to light up a cigarette and talk with a lover until 4 in the morning.
Anna Mikhailenko
5 звездочек-недостаточно для этой книги! Превосходно. Замечательно.
Megan Anderson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Larry Piper
This is yet another book read by the protagonist of Of Human Bondage, Philip. Fortunately, it's much better than that previous piece of crap I read as a result of reading about Philip's life. But, it's not great. If I could give +s and -s, I'd give it a 3*-. With luck, I'll manage to avoid Peregrine Pickle, another book Philip read, but then since that book also figured prominently in David Copperfield's early life as well, perhaps not. We'll see.

This book is essentially a set of short stories,
Rachel Pollock
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. It's more like a collection of interconnected short stories about the same collection of friends/lovers, for the most part, but it's really a great contrast to the uptight and generally prudish nature of English 19th century fiction. It was particularly gratifying as a female reader to find the women in this book (written and set in the 1840s) owned their own sexuality, romantic expression, fickle love affairs, and that none of the characters, male or female) shamed ...more
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't read this edition, but a much earlier hardcover one in English and then later, again in French. In French was better, if you can do it, but the English is enough to find a beautiful, romantic story of the types of people you see in the opera "La Boheme" and musical "Rent" (which are of course based on this book) and "Moulin Rouge." I am a huge fan of the Fin de Siecle, and I loved this book. Steer clear if you are a pragmatist, but if you're an artist and a romantic, this is actually a ...more
Sep 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Un matin, c’était le 8 avril, Alexandre Schaunard, qui cultivait les deux arts libéraux de la peinture et de la musique, fut brusquement réveillé par le carillon que lui sonnait un coq du voisinage qui lui servait d’horloge.

— Sacrebleu ! s’écria Schaunard, ma pendule à plumes avance, il n’est pas possible qu’il soit déjà aujourd’hui."

Petites nouvelles à lire et à relire !

The story is very much about Mimi, which Puccini transferred to his opera. However, Murger's book is just a bunch of little scenes/vignettes; quite different than where this story went Puccini's opera. Other than discovering some of the character origins, it honestly wasn't worth the read. Very stale. Just a bunch of bums hanging out. Doing nothing. Talking rubbish.
Ina Lenca
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure if the description "a silly little book" is ever used in a positive manner, but I must say that this book really is a silly little book, and I liked it exactly because of that. When I chose to read it, I pictured it to be quite different than it turned out to be, imagining something similar to the bohemian way of life of the artists of the 20th century (which is a bit more serious, I would say). But I came to value the humour and lightheartedness which was there even in the desperat ...more
Nicolas Celedon Hernandez
Smart, funny, intimate and heartbreaking.
Ideal for men who love art and/or women.
Francine Maessen
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: realism
Loved it! Great balance between accurate descriptions and parodies on artistic life. It was bit more fragmentaric than Trilby, but is was also a lot less antisemetic, which was a big relief. I was also glad the end of the book became a lot more serieus, it made sure you can view it as a literary work and not just as a comic piece on artists.
Ally Taylor
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The libretto La Bohème, by authors Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based of the novel La Vie de Bohème by Henri Murger, tells the story of six bohemians finding love and struggling to live in 19th-century Paris. La Bohème is a story I am very familiar with, as I have seen both the opera and the modern adaptation, Rent (a musical), both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I would give this a rating of 4/5 stars because of its beautifully phrased passages and word choice as well its content (which i ...more
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
i read this on my kindle (yeah, i got one). i get most of my ebooks free from project gutenberg. this one i "bought" for 0.00 from i had never seen so many mistakes in a book, but i guess i still paid nothing, so i won't complain much.

this book was written in the 1800s. the bohemians are a small group of young parisians trying to live as artists (writer, painter, poet, etc.). it follows them as they try to not get kicked out due to missed rent, buy clothes secondhand, continually sea
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who likes the study of character
Shelves: nook
I really really enjoyed this book, the way it is written and the characters it presents. I first watched the opera in Budapest and then started reading it, with the bright colorful costumes of the era in mind. The life of a Bohemian may seem so fantastic, so unreal, yet so well portrayed in this book. I haven't decided which is my favorite character, the philosopher, the poet or the composer. Each in his own way is miraculously naive at times and mature out of the blue. It seems they each evolve ...more
Henri Murger's series of vignettes concerning four Paris bohemians (Marcel, Rodolphe, Colline and Schaunard) is the basis for Puccini's "La Boheme" and, subsequently, Jonathan Larson's "Rent."

The book combines pathos and unexpected good humor to show the difficulties of artistic life in 19th C. Paris. The mens' unfailing enthusiasm and absolute belief that they are about to be the next big thing carries them in and out of various scrapes and, of course, into the arms of various women.

I found the
May 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The beginning of the most popular story to hit ever part of the theatre world (arguably.) This begot La Boheme, which begot RENT the Musical, which begot RENT the movie. Asit is, I have seen and read and own everything I possibly could minus, of course, this book. It's not the popularity and I don't consider myself a fan. It's everything this story line represents. It's the lives it shares within it's pages. I have an affinity with a few of the characters and would honestly much prefer one of th ...more
Sep 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-get
This was so very delightful! I'm familiar with _La bohème_ and with _Rent_ (the mid-90s rock musical update of it), so I had no idea that Murger's original novel was so *funny*. Rodolphe & Mimi's affair, rather than being the centre of the book, is a very small portion; it's mostly a romp through the attics and streets of Bohemian Paris, as the four male artists have brief affairs with uneducated young women with charming voices, eat herring when they'd rather have haute cuisine, and attempt ...more
Valentin Cojocaru
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the title suggests the book is very playful easy to read with joy. It would be best enjoyed allowing yourself to read it in an environment on a balcony, on a sunny day, letting some sun enter half your room to create some contrast and in the shadowy part place a gramophone with a vinyl to listen to some French classics. A half-naked Madeline sleeping on the couch is a must.
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very funny (how many times I laughed in the course of the stories). Very colorfully written. This revised novel was based on the same set of short stories upon which Puccini based the opera La Boheme; well the opera conflated a number of the people into a smaller set and took only a small portion of the overall set of stories.
Basically a heap of indifferent conversations and indifferent characters. I can imagine this as a play a lot better because frankly Murger does not have the literary skills to write a novel. Sentences after another didn't make an interesting insight to a bohemian life in 19th century Paris but rather snooze of a collection of boring chapters.
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it quite a bit. It didn't really matter when it was written, the story still holds true of today's bohemian set, and I saw quite a few of my colorful friends in the eyes of the characters in the book.
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perfect book to read when you're broke. Descriptions of all pranks that bohemians did to find some money to pay the rent and buy tobacco and bottle of wine are fun to read but love stories are a bit too pathethic. also, those bohemians were quite hipsterish.
Korell Yang
波西米亞 Bohemia Boheme,一直都在我心中是個神秘又吸引人的民族,或說是種「生活方式」與「人生態度」。直到接觸了更多的關於歐洲的訊息之後,搭配這本書當中更鮮明清楚的波西米亞人生活情境,漸漸對於自己想過的生活方式,竟然顯得模糊了...不過,大抵是本很有趣、也很所謂藝術與現實的兼顧時,所展現的波西米亞式。
Ruth Learn
May 27, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
the characters are obnoxious. there's no real structured plot. I couldn't even finish this. What more can I say?
S. L.
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading as an ebook from
Интересно почитать о жизни французской богемы. Легкие рассказы, забавное персонажи.
Nick Seymour
Not a bad book. A terrible, terrible opera.
Luca Gandolfi
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book that inspired my bohemian life when I was 20 years of the books, or 'The Book', to which are linked my best memories.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Parisian Affair and Other Stories
  • The Best of Dorothy Parker
  • La Chamade
  • New York Stories
  • The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard
  • Paris
  • Mademoiselle de Maupin
  • The Human Comedy: Selected Stories
  • Presence: Stories
  • L'orologiaio di Everton
  • Noa Noa
  • Some Thing Black
  • The Bobbsey Twins at the County Fair (Bobbsey Twins, 15)
  • Memoirs of Montparnasse
  • Petite Mort
  • Devil's Island
  • The Life of Henry Brulard
  • Les Animaux dénaturés
He is chiefly distinguished as the author of Scènes de la vie de bohème, from his own experiences as a desperately poor writer living in a Parisian attic, and member of a loose club of friends who called themselves "the water drinkers" (because they were too poor to afford wine). In his writing he combines instinct with pathos and humour, sadness his predominant tone. The book is the basis for the ...more
More about Henri Murger...

Share This Book

“Study is the child of silence and mystery.” 28 likes
“The day is not over yet. You may still meet with Providence, who never gets up before noon.” 7 likes
More quotes…