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Archive for the ‘Bloomsbury’ Category

Gloomsbury, a series on the BBC’s Radio 4, is a spoof of the Bloomsbury Group that follows the fortunes ofGloomsbury Vera Sackcloth-Vest, a writer, gardener and transvestite.

Its second season, which will air later this month, features the last performances of the late actor Roger Lloyd Pack who died nearly two months ago of pancreatic cancer. He plays the amorous gardener Gosling and long-suffering husband Lionel Fox.

 

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Once again, Virginia Woolf has influenced runway fashions, this time at London Fashion Week. Check out these links for references to Woolf, Charleston, Bloomsbury and fashion:Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 10.08.39 AM

  • Handpainted Burberry fashions, a la Charleston Farmhouse. Read the New York Times story.
  • London Fashion Week autumn/winter 2014 blog: Days one, two and three in The Telegraph.
  • “The inspiration is Virginia Woolf — very poetic and super fragile as if the girl has never been out in the sun,” said the makeup artist in a Women’s Wear Daily story that also refers to the Woolf look as “a bit of a mad woman.”

Read fashion sightings from the past.

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BloomsburyCookbook_title_26523A Bloomsbury cookbook promising a combination of food, life, love and art, will be available in hardcover on April 22.

The Bloomsbury Cookbook: Recipes for Life, Love and Art by Jans Ondaatje Rolls offers more than 180 recipes — some handwritten and never before published — from Frances Partridge, Helen Anrep and David and Angelica Garnett. The recipes, according to publisher Thames & Hudson, promise to “take us into the very heart” the world of the Bloomsbury Group by recreating mealtime atmospheres at locations such as Monk’s House, Charleston Farmhouse and Gordon Square.

The publisher is billing the book as more than a cookbook. Its photographs, letters, journals and paintings will contribute a social history angle as well. It is priced at £24.95.

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The Bloomsbury Group’s Memoir Club met around 60 times over the course of 45 years. During that time, 9781137360366_largethe group read about 125 memoirs, and around 80 of those have survived, a quarter of them unpublished. The Bloomsbury Group Memoir Club by the late S.P. Rosenbaum shares these details and sketches a history of the club, along with its impact on the work of its participants.

Rosenbaum, a leading scholar of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group,  left more than five completed chapters of the volume before he died in the spring of 2012. In them, he explains the origins of the club, details its original members and their contributions, and explores the impact of club meetings on the members’ individual work. He also links the authors and their writing with the politics and history of the early 20th century.

Chapter one in the volume introduces the Memoir Club, talks about its meeting schedule, and discusses the meaning of the term “memoir.” More significantly, it explores the significance of World War I on its members and their work, even though no one in the club was a combatant. Rosenbaum details the war-related writing of members that were relevant to their later memoirs — from Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians to Maynard Keynes’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

In chapter two, Rosenbaum explains the literary and discursive traditions that shaped the formation of the club after the Great War had dispersed the Bloomsbury friends. These range from the life-writing of their English tradition, such as Ruskin and Gosse to the life-writing of family members, such as Leslie Stephen and Edward Fry.

Membership in the club was exclusive and began with a personal invitation, according to chapter three, titled “Beginnings.” All 25 members were either related in some way or were undergraduate friends of the Cambridge Apostles. Membership changed over time, from Old Bloomsbury before World War I to Later Bloomsbury from the 1920s through the 1930s. This chapter also details the memoirs shared by its members, describes the reactions of listeners, and ties them to the members’ work.

Chapter four, “Private and Public Affairs: 1921-1922,” covers Clive Bell’s, Maynard Keynes’,  E.M. Forster’s and Strachey’s memoirs, which dealt with the recent present and moved from impersonal childhood memories to “intimately private or controversially public affairs.” This chapter summarizes the memoirs and describes the reaction of club members to them. It also discusses the readings done by Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, which Leonard Woolf described as “‘a fantastic narrative of a labyrinthine domestic crisis’.”

The last complete chapter written by Rosenbaum documents the club’s hiatus — from 1922 to 1927 — during which time The Charleston Bulletin was published. The family newspaper founded by Woolf’s nephews, Quentin and Julian Bell, included memoir writing of its own — a life of Vanessa Bell written by Woolf, anecdotes about Duncan Grant, the life of Clive Bell, and the life and adventures of the Keynes.

Rosenbaum’s work, published by Palgrave Macmillan this month, stops just before Woolf’s reading of “Old Bloomsbury,” meaning that some of Woolf’s and other members’ most significant work was yet to come. As editor James M. Haule notes in his Introduction, the task of finishing the volume “now falls on us.”

Read a review in The Independent.

 

 

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This month, the International Virginia Woolf Society shared a series of “interesting facts about Virginia Woolf on its Facebook page.

Vanessa Bell

The most recent, * Interesting fact no. 12, * told the story of how Woolf, 28, and her sister, Vanessa Bell, 30, “once appeared in public almost nude,” according to the judgment of some who saw them at a ball held in conjunction with Roger Fry’s 1910 exhibition of Post-Impressionist painters at the Grafton Galleries.

Inspired by the paintings, the two sisters browned their arms and legs, adorned themselves with flowers and beads, and appeared as bare-shouldered, bare-legged, ‘indecent’, figures from a Gauguin canvas.

It’s said that the two women recreated their Gauguin girl look for a later photo, which has not been located.

Visit the IVWS Facebook page for more interesting facts about Virginia, including the fact that Woolf’s Dreadnought Hoax escapade heads the list of “The Twelve Best Facts from a Year of Interesting Literature.”.

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American Bloomsbury – the title shouted at me from the shelf of a Seattle used bookstore. I couldn’t resist Susan Cheever’s 2006 work on the Transcendentalists, with the explanatory subtitle: “Louisa May Alcott, American BloomsburyRalph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work.” I confess to knowing more about British literary history than I do American, so this was a fantastic introductory text to fill some gaps.

In addition to the intermingled lives of these five, who lived in three neighboring houses in Concord, Mass., in the mid-19th century, American Bloomsbury weaves in threads of Dickinson, Whitman, Longfellow, Melville, and Poe—the core of American literature in a nutshell. Margaret Fuller was the least known to me and the most fascinating; Cheever describes her as “a Dorothy Parker woman in a Jane Austen world” (and there’s a new bio of her by Megan Marshall that I’ve put on my to-read list).

Cheever writes that, “These men and women fell desperately in and out of love with each other, tormented each other in a series of passionate romantic triangles, edited each other’s work, talked about ideas all night…” Sounds like Bloomsbury, right? But even more than the similarities and fascinations of their convoluted personal relationships, Cheever’s title draws from the idea of constellations of genius, “greatness being the result of proximity to greatness.” She refers to the philosophers of ancient Rome—Plato, Aristotle, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Euripides, and Sophocles—as one example; the so-called “founding fathers”—Washington, Madison, Jefferson, and Franklin—as another.

And, of course, Bloomsbury. But Bloomsbury and its inhabitants are never mentioned or alluded to outside of the title. Of course they came later, but still, my curiosity led me to contact Susan Cheever about it, and she confirmed her intentions: “I used Bloomsbury as a synonym for all literary genius clusters.”

When I finished the book, I turned to see what Woolf had to say about them. She discusses all but Alcott (was she dismissed for writing “children’s” novels, or have I missed something?), even a mention of Margaret Fuller’s journals, in her essays:

“Emerson’s Journals have little in common with other journals. They might have been written by starlight in a cave if the sides of the rock had been lined with books” (from “Emerson’s Journals”).

The Transcendentalist movement represented “the effort of one or two remarkable people to shake off the old clothes which had become uncomfortable to them and fit themselves more closely to what now appeared to them to be the realities.” When we read Walden, “we have a sense of beholding life through a very powerful magnifying glass” (from “Thoreau”).

Woolf thought that Emerson and Hawthorne “have had their counterparts among us and drew their culture from our books.” In “American Fiction” she holds up Walt Whitman as the first to be “so uniquely American.” Still, there’s no doubt that the five were trailblazers, and I feel more grounded in our burgeoning literary history thanks to Cheever’s thorough and engrossing work.

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Originally posted on SuchFriends Blog:

While WB Yeats’ circle were busy organizing the Abbey theatre in Dublin, Virginia Woolf and her friends and family were reinventing art and literature in the townhouses of Bloomsbury and the country cottages of Sussex. Until The Great War intervened, the British sat in drawing rooms, talking over whisky, buns and cocoa, late into the night.

I will be giving a presentation about Britain 100 years ago, before the war, next Monday, 25th November, from 1 to 2 pm, at The Birmingham [UK]  & Midland Institute, Margaret Street, City Centre, http://bmi.org.uk/.

The BMI has agreed to waive the £2 non-member fee to anyone who uses the password ‘Such Friends’ when they arrive. So, if you’re in the area, come along and be sure to say hi. Maybe afterwards we’ll all have our own salon at a nearby pub…

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Here’s a preview of Lottie Cole’s “Bloomsbury Interiors” show on Nov. 19 at Cricket Fine Art, 2 Park Walk, SW10.

http://youtu.be/SHqWpCpmQ_4

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A couple of Woolf hunters have offered a recently discovered painting by Roger Fry for sale.

Scene

A newly discovered landscape by Roger Fry (circa 1913-1919) is now being offered for sale by Jon S. Richardson Rare Books.

Known as “Scene,” this untitled impressionist rendering of a farmhouse alongside a river was discovered to be a work of Fry when the painting was cleaned and repaired by a professional art restoration firm, according to an email the seller, Jon S Richardson Rare Books of Concord, Mass., sent Blogging Woolf.

About the Fry painting

The oil on canvas measures 20 inches by 24 inches, is circa 1913 to 1919 and has an original label from the Omega Workshops, 33 Fitzroy Square, on its reverse side. Dominant colors, which are mainly subdued, are green with brown-orange and blue-grey clouds. Fry’s signature appears in the lower left corner.

Research done by Richardson Rare Books includes the following facts to help date and locate the painting:

  • in 1916 Roger Fry was writing Vanessa Bell that he had returned to landscapes free of “the impressionism you infected me with.” (RF Letters #381- Spalding, Roger Fry .., p. 186)
  • In May, 1916, Fry was at Bo Peep Farm in Alciston (now a B&B near Berwick) painting landscapes (RF Letters #378), evidence that the painting is a Sussex scene and quite possibly a farmstead along the Cuckmere River.

About the painting’s history

The painting’s acquisition by the rare books company led it “to the informed speculation that the painting was one sold in New York City by Sunwise Turn, the Manhattan bookshop which dealt in Omega goods,” according to Richardson.

“While originally Sunwise was thought to deal in textiles only, from a photograph we handled several years ago advertising an Omega screen, it is clear they dealt in other Omega goods as well; any purchaser from Sunwise would have encountered the 1929 stock market crash followed by the Great Depression which no doubt caused the painting to be dispersed into the used goods market and lost in obscurity,” Richardson wrote.

“The signature, even on cleaning, is only visible with sharp light tightly focused, thus it does not show in a photograph with general flash nor upon routine visible inspection. Only upon cleaning did the signature achieve any visibility. Any Roger Fry oil painting from the Omega Period is rare and, with the Omega provenance, this is perhaps unique.”

About the Woolf hunters

According to “Woolf Hunters,” a 2010 article in the Harvard Magazine, Richardson founders Jon and harbor books screenshotMargaret Richardson have made hunting down the works of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group their mission since opening York Harbor Books in Maine more than 20 years ago.

Their focus has been successful, Jon Richardson explains in the article, “because Woolf and her companions are `still taught, still collected, and many of the people who study the group end up as collectors.’” So successful that the shop publishes a major printed catalog each summer.

To contact Jon S. Richardson Rare Books, email Yorkharborbooks@aol.com.

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Originally posted on Seraglio :

This is utterly gorgeous and comes via The Paris Review which I think is the Best Thing in the World.

38 Burleigh Mansions, St Martins Lane, London W.C.2.
27 August 1924

My dear Virginia,
Forgive the unconscionable delay in answering your charming letter and invitation. I have been boiled in a hell-broth, and on Saturday journeyed to Liverpool to place my mother in her transatlantic, with the confusion and scurry usual on such occasions, and the usual narrow escape from being carried off to America (or at least to Cobh) myself. In the tumult on the dock an impetuous lady of middle age, ‘seeing off’ a relative going to make his fortune in the New World, by way of the Steerage) stuck her umbrella in my eye, which is Black. I should love to visit you, seriously: the Prince of Bores to refresh his reputation: but the only pleasure that…

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