ON DEMAND Bloomsbury at home: bodies

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 a link in your ticket. 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 until 14 March.

Week 5

Bodies

‘I could feel ecstasies and raptures spontaneously and intensely and without any shame or the least sense of guilt, so long as they were disconnected with my own body.’ (Virginia Woolf)

 

What role did the body play in the thinking, painting and writing of the Bloomsbury Group? In this session, we explore the corporeal realm of the Bloomsbury Group – from body image and nudity to food, illness and death. We’ll consider the Cartesian split between body and mind, placing the spotlight in particular on the embodied writing of ballerina Lydia Lopokova, Roger Fry’s kinetic descriptions of working with clay, Vanessa’s nude portraits at Studlands, and the contrasting crossover with NeoPaganism and Vorticism. We will trace ideas back to the Victorian connotations of the body they inherited, in particular Julia Stephen’s work as a nurse and a model. To what extent is the female body in particular a site for politics, creativity and identity?

 

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.

ON DEMAND Bloomsbury at home: politics

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 a ticket with a link and login details. 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 be available on-demand until 14 March.

 

Week 4

Politics

‘As for politics, I feel we are all sitting downstairs while someone slowly dies’ (Virginia Woolf)

‘I believe in aristocracy… Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them.’ (EM Forster)

“I can’t, can’t, get clear about politics” (Julian Bell)

 

From pacifism to suffrage, right wing leanings to Marxist dabbling, we explore the role of politics in the lives, relationships and work of the Bloomsbury Group. To what extent were their bonds and choices influenced by the changing politics of their environment? What role did individuals play in instigating change? What conflicts arose as members adopted different responses to war and cultural transformation in Britain? We will look at the impact of two world wars, atheism and intellectual beliefs in the shaping of Bloomsbury thought and consider the particular impact of members such as Maynard Keynes at Bretton Woods, the Strachey women in the realm of gender politics, Julian Bell’s death in the Spanish Civil War and the infiltration of right wing thinking into Bohemian London.

 

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.

ON DEMAND Bloomsbury at home: love & sex

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 a ticket with your link and login details. Simply log in, and immerse yourself in literature, thoughts and ideas with our reader-in-residence Holly Dawson.

Sessions will also be available on-demand until 14th March. 

 

Week 3

Love & sex

“Suddenly the door opened and the long and sinister figure of Mr Lytton Strachey stood on the threshold. He pointed his finger at a stain on Vanessa’s white dress.

‘Semen?’ he said.
Can one really say it? I thought and we burst out laughing. With that one word all barriers of reticence and reserve went down. Sex permeated our conversation. The word bugger was never far from our lips.” (Virginia Woolf)

 

The Bloomsbury group famously ‘lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles’ – but the myths, gossip and headlines of their personal lives can distract us from the far richer and more nuanced ideas around love, sex and relationships that informed how they worked and lived. This session explores how the transgression of traditional relationship models went hand in hand with their pursuit of a new and radical aesthetic. Decades ahead of the social and moral codes of the day, the fluid nature of their relationships has resonance even today. We look at the overlapping and complicated relationships within Bloomsbury and explore what part romantic and carnal love played within them.

 

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.