English 260bg. The Bloomsbury Group

Instructor: Marjorie Garber

Tuesdays, 2-4 pm | Location: Barker 269

The Bloomsbury Group was an extraordinary creative collaboration in the early years of the 20th century. We tend to think of such collaborative work today, in think tanks, Silicon Valley incubators, literary movements and artists’ colonies, as a fairly recent phenomenon, but it was in fact powerfully modeled a century ago. “Bloomsbury” included novelists Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster, both of whom are also literary critics; biographer and essayist Lytton Strachey; economist John Maynard Keynes; socialist and publisher Leonard Woolf; philosophers G.E.Moore and Bertrand Russell; artists Vanessa Bell, Dora Carrington, and Duncan Grant; art critics Clive Bell and Roger Fry; and the English translators of Sigmund Freud, James and Alix Strachey— each of whom had an enormous effect on the form of the genre, or genres, in which they worked. Not to mention other friends, lovers and rivals: Vita Sackville-West, David Garnett, Aldous Huxley, Katherine Mansfield, just to name a few. This course will look at the interdisciplinary effect of brilliant and talented people from across the spectrum of the arts and social sciences influencing each other’s work and participating in its creation and publication. Readings to include the major novels and essays of Virginia Woolf, the biographies and essays of Lytton Strachey, and substantial selections from other theorists, artists, critics and practitioners, together with relevant films, letters, and elements of design and home décor. In addition to our scrutiny of these works, in printed texts and in rare book libraries and museums, the members of the seminar will work to design and develop an undergraduate General Education course on the Bloomsbury Group.

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