English 160bg. Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group

Instructor: Marjorie Garber
Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 9-10:15am
Course Website

Virginia Woolf, novelist, essayist, feminist and critic, was at the center of a remarkable group of creative intellectuals who changed the course of the 20th century—and the present day. Her sister was the artist Vanessa Bell, her husband the political writer and publisher Leonard Woolf, her lifelong friends included the biographer Lytton Strachey, the economist John Maynard Keynes, the painter Duncan Grant, and the art historians Roger Fry and Clive Bell.  Together with G.E. Moore, E.M. Forster, Bertrand Russell, Desmond MacCarthy, Vita Sackville-West, and Lydia Lopokova, the members of this powerful coterie were innovators — not only pioneers in their fields but also witty commentators and skilled critics across the disciplines. Not content to change merely the arts and letters of the 20th century, these intimate friends were also social pioneers: some were openly queer, some openly polyamorous, most outrageously iconoclastic, and all radically insistent on the equality of the sexes. They have come to be known as The Bloomsbury Group, named after the area in London where many of them lived and worked. This course will look at the works these people created across the spectrum of the arts, as well as the friendships that sustained this work of nearly half a century, as the vital context that allowed for the major novels and essays of Virginia Woolf.