Louis Henri Murger was a poet and novelist.
Drawing on his own experience, Murger was among the first to describe the precarious lives of poor artists and writers. His best-known work, Scènes de la vie de bohème (Scenes of Bohemian Life, 1845-1849), was the basis fof Puccini's opera La Bohème.
Whistler knew the book (it may well have created his expectations of student life in Paris from 1855) and he used the phrase 'vie de bohème' in a letter to Proth in 1859 (#11159).
MacDonald, Margaret F. et al, Whistler, Women and Fashion, New Haven and London, 2003, pp. 7, 55; 'Murger, Henri,' Encyclopædia Britannica, at http://search.eb.com (accessed 16 June 2005).