The Bloomsbury group has long divided opinion. To some they are a privileged elite, unoriginal and self-absorbed. To others they are at the vanguard of modernism, decades ahead of the social, moral and artistic codes of the day. Leonard Woolf wrote that the Bloomsbury group were “A largely imaginary group of persons… with largely imaginary characteristics”. This series of talks strips back the layers of mythology surrounding the Bloomsbury group and goes back to source – to their books, essays, articles, letters and diaries. This is the Bloomsbury group in their own words.
How it works
You will be sent an email in advance of the talk with a link, login details and readings for on the day. Simply log in, settle down with your tea or coffee, and immerse yourself in literature, thoughts and ideas with our reader-in-residence Holly Dawson.
Sessions will also be available on-demand so you can watch whenever is most convenient for you.
Friendship: conflict & collaboration
‘I use my friends as giglamps: There’s another field I see, by your light. Over there’s a hill. I widen my landscape’ – Virginia Woolf
For Bloomsbury, friendship was everything, more important than family, more important than sex. The closed intimacy of the Bloomsbury group created a fertile environment where new and radical ways of thinking were born, debated and shaped. In this first session we unravel the bonds that held the Bloomsbury group together. As we place ideas of friendship and kinship at the heart of the success of the group, we ask: what did friendship mean to them? How did their pursuit of new ways to live challenge their friendships? How did their relationships fuel their groundbreaking work?
Angelica Garnett (far left) with Duncan Grant, Virginia Woolf and Lydia Lopokova having a tea party in the Charleston garden in the 1930s. Photo © The Charleston Trust.