The Bohemians, Joanna Richardson, A.S. Barnes, 1969
The 1830 Revolution in France, Pamela Pilbeam, St Martin’s Press, 1991
Bourgeois doesn’t mean a citizen with the rights of the city. A duke may be bourgeois in the indirect sense in which the word has been used for the past thirty years or so. Bourgeois, in France, means roughly the same as philistine in Germany, and it means everyone, whatever his position, who is not initiated in the arts or doesn’t understand them. Once upon a time…. it was enough to be pink-cheeked and clean-shaven, with a square shirt-collar, and a stove-pipe hat, to be apostrophized with this injurious epithet.
(Theophile Gautier, in Le Moniteur universel, Dec. 31, 1855; Richardson, p. 52.)
Before Marx were the bousingots. According to Pilbeam, the political factions of the 1830 revolution were not class-conscious, and to the extent that class lines can be detected between them, they did not match the distinctions described by Marx. She also concludes that the streetfighters who made this and later 19th century revolutions happen were never the beneficiaries of the revolutions. Gautier’s anti-bourgeois convictions were not political, and the political bousingots were not really progressive.
The bourgeois and the bousingot are enemy twins, and, and you can’t have one without the other. The bousingots usually lose, and the cagy ones jump ship (as Gautier did). But the bourgeoisie always produces more of them.
Gautier’s bouzingos (his spelling) were mostly just literary dissidents. The slightly later street-fighting bousingots were urban artisans and undifferentiated political rebels. Their enemy, the newly-discovered bourgeoisie, has pretty much dominated France ever since.
We miss that in the United States, because what we go to France for is avant-gardists, not ordinary folk. Two generations of American college students have learned that France is populated primarily by existentialists, surrealists, symbolists, Marxists, decadent aristocrats, bohemians, and so on — but no!. The petty bourgeoisie dominating France is the pettiest of them all.