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Oct 22, 2009, 12:26pm

Welcome to the Bloomsbury Group and their friends LT Group - have fun participating. Any general messages that don't fit in a thread or require a thread of their own can come in here.

Oct 22, 2009, 1:29pm

Thanks for setting up this group, Caroline. I have a great fascination for this era.

Oct 22, 2009, 1:53pm

Me three! Delighted to have a spot where I can learn more and find out things to read.

Oct 22, 2009, 2:30pm

Thirty-five years ago I set off to find out about this Virginia Woolf person I kept hearing about (and to decide whether I ought to be afraid of her). I started with Quentin Bell's biography. It took me three years to read that book -- not because I didn't love it or because I'm slow or because I was so busy -- but because every five words or so I came across a name or title or place I'd never heard of before (rural Texas is a long way from Bloomsbury).

Still, I was determined to understand so whenever I came to something unfamiliar I would stop and look up and read about and go off to the library to do more research. What an adventure. I learned so much. I didn't know I was mapping a literary world for myself. I'm not an expert by any means, and I long ago decided I needed to leave Bloomsbury and check out other realms, but I'll always have a special place in my heart (and brain, however feeble it is now) for Virginia and Vanessa and all the rest. Recently a friend asked me to recommend a book about the Bloomsbury group and I decided to buy her a copy of an old favorite of mine: Leon Edel's Bloomsbury: A House of Lions. Maybe it's still in print but I couldn't find a new copy (my resources are rather limited these days so perhaps I didn't look in the right places). I was horrified. Some books are essential.

Anyway, I thank you for this group, Caroline. I look forward to many good discussions.

Oct 23, 2009, 9:07am

#4: mollygrace, I was an undergrad doing a course which had a lot of Virginia Woolf's novels on it at the time when the Quentin Bell bio came out. In a classic Erasmus moment I bought the boxed set because I had to have it and with whatever money was left, I bought food. ;)

Oct 25, 2009, 4:36pm

Here are some pictures of the famous Charleston House - the centre of the Bloomsbury Group.

Oct 29, 2009, 10:39am

Yes, thats it, they are lovely photographs kiwidoc. Unfortunately you can't photograph inside as the images (which are everywhere) are copywrighted. But looking at Vanessa Bell's and Duncan Grant's work you will get a good idea of what the inside is like. I could move in any day. Though I like Monks House equally.

Edited: Nov 18, 2009, 11:18am

I've just discovered this 'spoken word' 2CD collection of Bloomsbury Groupers and dropped it in my Amazon basket. I'll report once I have had time to play it.

Nov 18, 2009, 10:57am

Caroline, it went to your shopping basket and asked me to sign in. hehe Just a link to the product itself?

Nov 18, 2009, 11:19am

I've corrected the link Tiffin!

Nov 19, 2009, 10:55pm

I see it now. How interesting it would be to hear Virginia's voice! I see there are others in the series too.

Jan 18, 2010, 10:38am

An interview with Angelica Garnett.

Promoting her new volume of short stories.

Jan 24, 2010, 6:22pm

Caroline .. First off, thank you for inviting me to this group . I find , like you and the rest of the group , the Bloomsburies to be a totally mesmerizing and enjoyable group of people.

Commenting on the CD "The Spoken Word" I have this also and listen to it often. This way when I read their works I can read in "Their Voices"! which adds much to the experience. Regretfully missing from the CD are KM, Carrington, Lytton , Roger, Ottoline, ... but most of the others are there , even Nelly Boxhall , Grace Higgens , and Lottie Hope and of course Vanessa who I very much like.


Jan 24, 2010, 6:25pm

Forgot to add this ,, you might find it interesting

Bloomsbury artists remembered

Jan 25, 2010, 10:40am

Joe, thanks for the link. Will listen to that at lunchtime tomorrow. Welcome to the group, look forward to any interesting nuggets you may find and post.


Jan 29, 2010, 1:48pm

I've joined this group because in my mid-teens, given TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by my high school english teacher (herself the daughter of H. Rider Haggard if you can believe it!) I lost my heart to her writing and for the next twenty or so years lived and breathed anything Bloomsbury.

I've been living in more than one place and my books are all over the East Coast -- but I still have a big Bloomsbury collection that I will get to when I am in THAT place. I reread Mrs. D regularly and TTL almost as often. Also Forster, who is the second most influential of that group.

That said, I have often wondered what the allure of the people themselves is - that most of them were either brilliant writers or artists is a fact -- but the group as a whole also has this seductive attractiveness. Perhaps because they hold out the promise of finding a group with passionate commitment to art and a kind of intellectual recklessness --

Plus very hip. Vanessa practically ran a commune.....

And I turned out so stuffy nonetheless.

I'm glad this group exists and I will turn my thoughts to the Bloomers once more. I think I even have, somewhere, some notes and sketches I made at 19 on a pilgrimage to London.

Jan 30, 2010, 2:46am

It would be lovely to see your notes and sketches, sibyx. Welcome to the group.

Jan 30, 2010, 4:32pm

Oh, that is so kind! We are actually moving in June (back to VT after a much-longer-than-expected sojourn in the great city of Philadelphia) and I'm desperately trying to re-organize and reduce our stuff so if I'm ever going to find those old notebooks it would be in the next few months. The advent of LT in my life is miraculous. I have to let go of a lot of books and I can enter them here in my list and that helps. No Bloom books will go -- in fact -- I just yesterday I found among some books from my mother-in-law's house a first American ed. of Mrs. Dalloway .....a lovely thing with a dustjacket, untouched -- Who knows where she got it? She never read anything but book reviews although she was always buying books -- but this is older, her mother's perhaps?

Feb 1, 2010, 7:43am

How lovely to come upon such a treasure Sibyx, especially of a book you love yourself. That truly is precious. Good luck with the move and welcome to the Bloomsbury room at LT.

Edited: Feb 1, 2010, 3:35pm

Ive read recently in Huge Lee's "Cezanne in the Hedge" that "Bloomsbury" was reborn in a literary way in the 1960s after Holyrods "Lytton Strachey" and Leonard Woolfs autobiographies were published. Before that , they were considered comatose and declining. Way out of vogue

My introduction to these incredible folks came I guess you could say thru the back door while researching Henry Brooks Adams. In 1880 Vita Sackville West's Mother was living in Washington DC as a young woman with her father Lionel who was Britians Ambassador to the US . Following them back across the pond led to Vita ergo Virginia .. hence Hyde Park Gate.

Over the past year or so I have lived cerebrally in Gordon. Tavistock , Fitzroy Squares , Asheham , Hogarth ,Durbin, Rodmell, Mill House, HamSpray ,Charleston and several other places . My next move is to physically go to those places that still exsist and try and capture something of thier lives as I did with Henry Adams in 2008. I feel like I am studing for a test I will never take and I book I will never write.

I apologize if I am long winded here ,its really not my nature , but finding like minded folks FINALLY that enjoy Bloomsbury as much as me has given me an excuse to "Let loose the Cracken!"

But I digress.. My point here is a two things I'm curious about

1. In your mind is Bloomsbury once again dorment?
2. Do you who read Bloomsbury authors also read about thier lives

and finally ... I have not been able to find any sustantial discussion online about the Artists . Vanessa, Duncan ,Fry, .... I find this curious .

Feb 2, 2010, 7:55am

Joe, I have enjoyed your post above and your curiosity. Bloomsbury once again dormant? I think it depends on what you mean by this, whether you are asking if there are other creative souls carrying on in the footsteps of those who made up the Bloomsbury group, or whether you mean that we are tired of Bloomsbury? Certainly there are a lot of people who would say they were tired of Bloomsbury. That they were egotistic, self aggrandisers who have no place in the world in which we now live. I am not someone who holds that view. As to the former, I will need to think longer upon that.

I do think that appreciations and backlashes go in waves, and generally after a resurgence, such as that inspired by the Stratchey biography, a backlash is possibly inevitable.

I want to ponder more before writing more on this.

Hopefully this group can be a place to enjoy discussions about the artists.

As for your pilgrimage to Bloomsbury-land Joe, the London I walk in daily is very much the London of the Bloomsbury group, even though it has undergone very dramatic changes, and the houses are no longer there, destroyed during the wars. However both Monks House and Charleston still prosper, and from my own experience, I have found them both very evocative places and worth your time to visit.

Feb 2, 2010, 9:32am

Both #20 is a thought-provoking post indeed --

Is bloomsbury dormant -- in the same way that museums create fervor around some artist by mounting a show and thus making interest seem cyclical -- the bloomies aren't in the publishing eye at the moment, but have, I think a passionate base.

Do folks that read the work read the bios -- yes, if you are one of the many drawn from the work itself to reading the wonderful letters, essays, and journals so many of them ALSO wrote.....and that leads you into the next thing, reading bios about them.......--) Plus since Strachey was first and foremost a new kind of biographer, that opens the door to reading bios about him and the others, I think...... It gets a little incestuous, to be sure.....

Feb 2, 2010, 2:49pm

The first, in regards to those people that follow in their footsteps as observers, students, researchers.

I suppose my question could be answered by measuring activity to the visitors to Charleston & Monks House if one wanted to camp across the street and count visitors for a couple summers. If judging by activity on Facebook to the Bloomsbury related groups there are many members but little participation.

I’m sad to hear that the London Homes are gone. I will enjoy visiting the others. Surprisingly, I found that Talland House in St Ives rents rooms so that’s on our itinerary as well as a visit to Sissinghurst. Ham Spray was for sale in 2007 ( approx $3 million!) . I plan to contact the owners to see if they would accomodate a visit .. sometimes Caroline it actually works :)

I agree to some extent that there is a cyclic way to society and the way thinking bends towards and away from the preceps of the society . The coming together again of a group of people like the Bloomsburies is most likley as the rebirth as Victorianism - Edwardianism is . Yet ... Speaking of snobbery , Henry Adams ,The Edith Wharton High Victorian born before Victorianism in 1838 , raised in a Colonial mindset lived to visit Knole , meet Vita and came within an arms length of Lytton. Maybe there

Yet .. I struggle to see an emergence of another Blooombury in the times of the Wiki and Tweet .. but you never ever know .

Siybx... In the Museum Frevor type way Duke University, NC had a year long Bloomsbury celebration in 2008/2009 ,

I couldn’t attend unfortunately but heard that it was successful, this was very encouraging.

Feb 2, 2010, 4:43pm

Looks like I cut well & pasted poorly :( ... " Maybe there " .. is a chance of a remergence in the old bloomsburies type folks. Artists, writers, historians & econonmists together in a comfortable circle. But society will need to repress in someway for some time to generate a Lytton ( like moving from the 50's into the 60''s is the US /UK , ?

Mar 18, 2010, 9:13pm

Hey there DF & all;
re: 1. In your mind is Bloomsbury once again dormant?
In my mind, the answer is no. At the ripe of age of 58, (at the time & 61 now), I only found them after I joined L.T. two or three years ago through a Vita Sackville-West rec that I picked up here on L.T. Each book I read by or about one of the Bloomsbury Group leads me on to the next, etc. It feels in my brain like the "domino effect". I find them all, and their work, be it literary, art, or their lives so fascinating that I can not read enough about or by them. I actually think that they fascinate me more then their work does. Although I do believe that Virginia Woolf was pure poetry, alive and breathing.

2. Do you who read Bloomsbury authors also read about their lives?
Abso_uckinglutely!~! The literature drives me to the bios and autobiographies and vice versa. I read much more of their non-fiction than their fiction. This group drives me & makes me "in the need to know" much more than anything else out there in the literary world. I love all things Bloomsbury!~!

Mar 22, 2010, 8:27am

I like your enthusiasm for these cool folk Rainpebble :) . They are like potatoe chips arent they? , eat one and you have to eat the whole bag . ( then find another bag of the same )

Before Bloomsbury I was eating a bag of Vita Sackville West and Harold Nicolson. Who were obliquely connected to Bloomsbury through Virgina Woolfe & Raymond Mortermer . If you haven't yet read " Pepita" by VSW . Its a quick and interesting read and adds social depth to the time period.

Mar 23, 2010, 12:03pm

And I do happen to have Pepita, so I shall bump that one up. Almost finished with The Count of Monte Cristo, which I have loved every single page of. Not one boring paragraph in this book. Then I will grab Pepita. Thanx for the rec D/F!~!

Mar 23, 2010, 8:15pm

Just finished "TCOMC" this A.M. and am now digging into Pepita. Looking forward to reading it.
Good reads all.

Mar 28, 2010, 1:07am

Hey there D/F;
I loved Pepita, all of it. The women of the memoir were soooooo very eccentric & alive and the love of Pepita and Victoria's daughters (Victoria & Vita) was so very evident.
I do not think that Vita Sackville-West can write a poor book.
Thank you so much for the rec! It made me look at Vita in a bit of a different way to see how rich her heritage was & how much she loved it & her family. I was truly taken in by this one.

Mar 29, 2010, 11:24am

Look's like I will have to bump Pepita up the pile.

Nice to see you rainpebble.

Mar 29, 2010, 6:59pm

Very nice to see you as well Caroline_McElwee!~! I do not think you will be sorry to read Pepita.
I think that one year I will take the whole year off and read nothing but Viragos. I rarely find one that disappoints.

Mar 31, 2010, 7:05pm

Yes, Its really an eye opener and happy you liked it :) What a unique maternal ancestry wasn't Vita's mother was totally unbelievably incredible.

Apr 1, 2010, 3:30pm

Totally!~! Victoria was wonderful. I do not think this particular book gets nearly the recognition it is so deserving of.
I am really happy that I liked it as well. And I am happy you liked it D/F or I would not have received the rec!~!

Apr 8, 2010, 12:32pm

Sorry not to have much time to spend in here lately, and haven't read much that was Bloomsbury linked of late.

However did read Love's Civil War the letters of Elizabeth Bowen to her Canadian lover Charlies Richie, and his diary entries which relate to his relationship with her. I fell under the spell. I now want to go back to reading some more Bowen, and Richie's other diaries. Bowen was not part of the Bloomsbury group, but she had met many of them and greatly admired Virginia.

Apr 8, 2010, 4:24pm

I didn't come away with much positive feeling for Ritchie after reading their letters, Caroline. I thought his behaviour much of the time was very self-centred indeed.

Edited: Apr 8, 2010, 5:20pm

Here's my review of it, Caroline, when I had to review it for the Early Reviewers:
My Review of Love's Civil War

Apr 28, 2010, 11:05am

Tiffin, thanks for your review. I can certainly agree with much of it. I am a bit of a pushover though with correspondences and diaries, I get into the flow of them. They can often be quite flat, but I quite like the way you get a lot of peoples regular, dull old thinking as well as their sparkling moments. I do agree that their relationship was odd, and I wonder if it was very much of its time. I also wonder whether it would have survived if they had been actually able to live together properly, I suspect not. I think the semi-illicitness stoked its fires.

Apr 28, 2010, 3:11pm

I agree that they likely wouldn't have lasted if they had been together. I too love letters...that wonderful book about the Mitfords, as an example...but I felt myself getting growlingly irritated at both of them throughout this book.

Apr 28, 2010, 5:04pm

Superb review, tiffin, riveting.

Jul 20, 2010, 1:15pm

New Bloomsbury Archive casts revealing light on Virginia Woolf's death .Letter opened to public viewing for the first time shows Clive Bell coming to terms with sister-in-law's suicide

Jul 30, 2010, 4:36am

Thank you D/F for that article. I found it to be very interesting. I think Virginia was terrified of another break down coming on and would have done anything to stave it off; which of course she did.
Anyway, thanks. The whole Bloomsbury Group thing is so intriguing.

Aug 4, 2010, 10:52pm

>40 DeadFred: Thanks so much for that post.

Aug 17, 2010, 8:45pm

"Psychoanalysis and the Bloomsbury Group" Douglass W. Orr, M.D.

Sep 6, 2011, 3:32am

I am reading Our Three Selves: The Life of Radclyffe Hall and finding it to be very interesting. A lot of the Bloomsbury group in and out of her life.

Oct 9, 2011, 2:30am

Is anyone else interested in doing a quarterly group read in 2012 written by or about a Bloomsbury group member or someone on the edges of the group? So we would read one book every 4 months throughout the year with some connection to this group.
Just drop your name in a post as interested, if you are, and we will plan something.

Oct 17, 2011, 1:48pm

Interested ...

Oct 18, 2011, 11:19am

Yes, would be interested to give it a go.