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Published on February 25, 2008

Author: Dorotea


Slide1:  The Bloomsbury Group In the Beginning…:  In the Beginning… The Bloomsbury Group initially began around 1904 when friends at Cambridge came together to discuss a wide range of societal ideas in a very informal fashion. The group of writers, artists, and intellects, were sometimes considered rather snobbish for their wit . Their Thursday night conversations at the home of the Stephen family in Bloomsbury, London, helped to lay the foundation for their name. The group stayed rather tight knit, connected by a variety of things, including blood, friendships, and sex. The World Wars greatly affected the group, and by the beginning of World War II, the group’s importance had disintegrated. WRITERS:  WRITERS Virginia Woolf Lytton Strachey David Garnett Vita Sackville West E.M. Forster Leonard Woolf Virginia Woolf Born: January 25, 1882 Died: March 28, 1941:  Virginia Woolf Born: January 25, 1882 Died: March 28, 1941 Virginia Woolf was born to Julia Jackson Duckworth and Sir Leslie Stephen; both parents were active members in the literary community, giving Virginia access to their world. Her childhood was peppered with many tragic occurrences: first, she was sexually assaulted by her half brother, Gerald Duckworth. Secondly, her mother died in her early teens, shortly followed by the death of her half sister, Stella Duckworth. This was then followed by the long slow death of her father to cancer in 1904. Her brother Thoby died in 1906, which left Virginia in the midst of a mental breakdown. In 1904, shortly after her father’s death, Virginia and her sister, Vanessa, moved to a house in Bloomsbury, which was central to the activities of the group. In 1905, Virginia started writing for the Times Literary Supplement. She married Leonard Woolf in 1912; together, they opened the publishing company, Hogarth Press, which went on to publish Virginia’s books. In 1923, Virginia met Vita Sackville-West and began having a passionate affair with her. After a final attack of mental illness, Virginia loaded her pockets with rocks, walked into the River Ouse, and drowned herself. In her suicide note, she wrote to her husband: "I have a feeling I shall go mad. I cannot go on longer in these terrible times. I hear voices and cannot concentrate on my work. I have fought against it but cannot fight any longer. I owe all my happiness to you but cannot go on and spoil your life." During her lifetime, Virginia wrote over 500 essays and many books, including: The Voyage Out (1915) Night and Day (1919) Jacob’s Room (1922) Mrs. Dalloway (1925) To the Lighthouse (1927) Orlando (1928) A Room of One’s Own (1929) The Waves (1931) Three Guineas (1938) Lytton Strachey Born: March 1, 1880 Died: January 21, 1932:  Lytton Strachey Born: March 1, 1880 Died: January 21, 1932 Born the eleventh of thirteen children, Strachey became a famous British writer, specifically with his form of biographies. The most famous example of his biography style is probably Eminent Victorians, which was four biographies of Victorian heroes that detailed their faults, flaws, and failures. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he met his Bloomsbury friends, including Leonard Woolf. Within the group, Lytton was the first to use first names and was also the first to approach the issue of sex. It is said that he once pointed to a stain on Vanessa Bell’s dress and asked, “Semen?” Though homosexual, he was committed to several women in his life. He actually proposed to Virginia Woolf, but it was with Dora Carrington to whom he was most devoted. They met in 1915, where Dora fell in love Lytton. Shortly thereafter, he moved into Dora’s home with her husband, Ralph Partridge. The three were all sexually involved. In 1931, Lytton’s health started declining rapidly from unknown causes. In January 1932, he died from stomach cancer. Three weeks later, Dora killed herself because she was incapable of living without him. His books included: Landmarks in French Literature (1912) Eminent Victorians: Cardinal Manning, Florence Nightingale, Dr. Arnold, General Gordon (1918) Queen Victoria (1921) Books and Characters, French and English (1922) Elizabeth and Essex: A Tragic History (1928) Portraits in Miniature and Other Essays (1931) Sources: and David “Bunny” Garnett Born: 1892 Died: 1981:  David “Bunny” Garnett Born: 1892 Died: 1981 Though raised in the ranks of the Bloomsbury group, he was not officially considered a member of the group until he became the lover of Duncan Grant. David was actually married to the painter Rachel Alice Marshall until she died in 1940. He then married Angelica Grant in 1942, who was the daughter of his former lover, Duncan Grant, and Vanessa Stephen Bell. It is said that when Angelica was just one day old, he wrote to Strachey: "I think of marrying it. When she is 20, I shall be 46 - will it be scandalous?" It turned out it was scandalous. Even the liberal Grant family was extremely disturbed that their daughter would marry her father’s former lover. He and Angelica ended up having four daughters together. Garnett is responsible for writing several books, including: Lady into Fox (1922) The Sailor's Return (1925) Aspects of Love (1955) Sources: and Vita Sackville West Born: 1892 Died: June 2, 1962:  Vita Sackville West Born: 1892 Died: June 2, 1962 Vita began writing poetry and plays when she was just eleven years old. From the time she was fourteen to eighteen, she wrote eight novels and five plays. In 1913, at the age of twenty one, she married Harold Nicholson, with whom she had two sons. She tried to be a “dutiful wife,” but when Harold informed her of his gay lover, they lived happily in a purely platonic relationship from that point forward. She had several lesbian relationships, but her most famous was with Virginia Woolf. She also had a very public relationship with Violet Keppel. Violet was the daughter of Alice Keppel, Edward VII's mistress. Vita and Violet’s affair continued even after Violet married. They eventually tried to elope to Paris, but their husbands convinced them to come home. She is responsible for having written several books, including: Challenge The Edwardians All Passion Spent Family History The Land The Garden English Country Houses After her death, her son Nigel Nicholson, published a book about her marriage, called A Portrait of a Marriage. Source: and E.M. Forster Born: January 1, 1879 Died: June 7, 1970:  E.M. Forster Born: January 1, 1879 Died: June 7, 1970 Accidentally christened Edward Morgan, instead of Henry Morgan, E.M. Forster had a difficult time at Tonbridge School, because his classmates were particularly harsh to Forster over his sexual orientation. Eventually, Forster also ended up attending college in Cambridge, where he was associated with the Apostles, which had many future Bloomsbury group members. He was also a good friend of Virginia Woolf. His father died before he was two years old, and the rest of life is known for being dominated by his mother and his aunts. Fortunately, one of his aunt’s legacies provided him with the opportunity to travel extensively and to write. In the winter of 1916, he met a seventeen year old tram conductor, Mohammad el-Adl, with whom he fell in love with. Mohammad died from tuberculosis in 1922, but continued to act as the inspiration for Forster’s works. Source: and He wrote over forty six short stories and many novels, including: Where Angels Fear to Tread The Longest Journey A Room With a View Howard’s End A Passage to India Maurice Artic Summer Leonard Woolf Born: November 25, 1880 Died: August 14, 1969 :  Leonard Woolf Born: November 25, 1880 Died: August 14, 1969 Leonard was the third of ten children of Soloman Rees Sydney and Marie Woolf. He attended Trinity College at Cambridge, where he met Lytton Strachey, Clive Bell, Thoby Stephen (Virginia’s brother), John Maynard Keynes, and E.M. Forster. In 1912, he married Virginia Stephen, and together they became the center of the Bloomsbury Group. He spent much of his time taking care of his wife, who suffered from mental illness. Together, though, they formed Hogarth Press, a publishing house. He was the editor of several publications, including International Review, Contemporary Review, National Athenaeum, and Political Quarterly. He also wrote several books, including: The Village in the Jungle - 1913 The Wise Virgins - 1914 International Government - 1916 Cooperation and the Future of Industry - 1918 Economic Imperialism - 1920 Empire and Commerce in Africa - 1920 Socialism and Co-operation - 1921 Fear and Politics - 1925 Essays on Literature, History, Politics - 1927 Hunting the Highbrow - 1927 Imperialism and Civilization - 1928 After the Deluge (Principia Politica), 3 vols. - 1931, 1939, 1953 Barbarians At The Gate - 1939 Source: ARTISTS:  ARTISTS Vanessa Bell Duncan Grant Roger Fry Dora Carrington Vanessa Bell Born: May 1879 Died: 1961:  Vanessa Bell Born: May 1879 Died: 1961 Vanessa, the older sister of Virginia Woolf, started her artwork when she was seventeen years old. Unlike Virginia, she felt repressed by their father’s patriarchal parenting, and when he died, was happy to move with Virginia and their brothers to Bloomsbury. In 1907, she married the art critic Clive Bell, but after having given birth to their children, Julian and Quentin, the couple slowly separated. Though still married to Clive, she was an active couple with Roger Fry, but later fell in love with the painter Duncan Grant. Together with Grant’s lover, David Garnett, the three moved into their farmhouse which they named Charleston. With Grant, she gave birth to Angelica, but always claimed that Angelica was the daughter of Clive Bell for the sake of society. Some of her works include: Source: Duncan Grant Born: 1885 Died: 1978:  Duncan Grant Born: 1885 Died: 1978 As a talented painter, Duncan Grant was a central figure in the Bloomsbury group, courting many of the members. His lovers included: Adrian Stephen (his future “wife” 's brother), David Garnett (his future daughter’s husband), Lytton Strachey (his cousin), Maynard Keynes, and Vanessa Bell. He was, by all accounts, “handsome, kind, and charming.” His artwork was also popular. He was the co-director of the Omega Workshops, and some of his artwork includes: Source: Roger Fry Born: 1866 Died: September 9, 1934 :  Roger Fry Born: 1866 Died: September 9, 1934 Though Roger studied at Cambridge in scientific studies, he followed his college career by going to Paris and Italy to study art. Relatively soon, he became a famous artist and art critic. In 1896, he married his wife Helen Coombe; however, she suffered from mental illness and was forced to be admitted into a mental institution until her death in 1937. Fry was forced then to raise his children, Pamela and Julian, by himself. He met Clive and Vanessa Bell in 1910, but started an affair with Vanessa in 1911when he traveled with them to Turkey, that ended soon thereafter in 1913. Fry coined the phrase “Post-Impressionist” for the art world, and also founded the Omega Workshops. He emphasized “form over content,” or how a piece looked over what it meant. In 1924, after short relationships with Nina Hamnett and Josette Coatmellec, he met Helen Anrep, who was twenty years younger than him. She left her husband, and they lived happily together until his death in 1934. His ashes were placed in a vault in a coffin designed by Vanessa Bell. Some of his works include: Source: Dora Carrington Born: March 29, 1893 Died: March 11, 1932 :  Dora Carrington Born: March 29, 1893 Died: March 11, 1932 After learning to paint at the Slade School of Fine Art in London and also meeting John Nash and Mark Gertler, Dora Carrington became a popular artist. She preferred to be called, “Carrington,” and rejected Mark Gertler for the gay Lytton Strachey. In 1921, the cross dressing Carrington married Ralph Partridge, with whom she had a ménage a trois with Lytton. After Lytton died in January 1932 from stomach cancer, Carrington shot herself the following March after realizing she could not live without him. Her artwork was similar to Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell’s, but it was more natural and more naïve. Some of her work includes: Source: and Others in the Group:  Others in the Group J. Maynard Keynes Clive Bell J. Maynard Keynes Born: June 5, 1883 Died: April 21, 1946 :  J. Maynard Keynes Born: June 5, 1883 Died: April 21, 1946 Keynes was born to John Neville Keynes, an economics professor at Cambridge University, and Florence Ada Brown, the first woman mayor of Cambridge. At 6’6”, Keynes was a a close friend to Virginia Woolf and other Bloomsburyists and a lover to Duncan Grant. Even after Keynes married the Russian ballerina, Lydia Lopokova, in 1918, Keynes continued to give Grant money for the rest of his life. Keynes was a brilliant economist and is still considered one of the most important economists ever. His theories are thought responsible for the economic boom of Western countries from 1945 to 1975, making it the Age of Keynes. Not only was he an amazing economist, but an impressive investor, too. In the Stock Market Crash of 1929, his investments increased 13.2%, while the rest of the world’s investments decreased by 0.5%. Keynes died from a cardiac infarction in 1946. His works included: The Economic Consequences of the Peace Treatise of Probability Treatise on Money A Tract on Monetary Reform General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (his greatest work) Sources: and Clive Bell Born: September 16, 1881 Died: September 18, 1964:  Clive Bell Born: September 16, 1881 Died: September 18, 1964 Like the other Bloomsbury group members, the art critic Clive Bell was educated at Trinity College in Cambridge. In 1907, he met and married Vanessa Stephen, Virginia Woolf’s older sister. After Vanessa gave birth to their two sons, Julian and Quentin, the couple slowly fell apart. Clive and Vanessa remained close friends, spending “family” vacations together, and he continued to support her financially. Together with Roger Fry, he helped create several important artistic ideas, including Significant Form, Post Impressionism, and exhorting form over content. His publication of “Art” in 1914 helped him earn a permanent place in the art world. Sources: and

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