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Bloomsbury attitudes to the Great War

The Great War still haunts us. This book draws together examples of the ‘aesthetic pacifism’ practised during the Great War by such celebrated individuals as Virginia Woolf, Siegfried Sassoon and Bertrand Russell. It also tells the stories of those less well known who shared the attitudes of the Bloomsbury Group when it came to facing the first ‘total war’. The five-year research for this study gathered evidence from all the major archives in Great Britain and abroad in order to paint a complete picture of this unique form of anti-war expression. The narrative begins with the Great War's effect on philosopher-pacifist Bertrand Russell and Cambridge University.

Wharton,Woolf and the nature of Modernism

10 ‘Embattled tendencies’: Wharton, Woolf and the nature of Modernism Katherine Joslin Edith Wharton eyed Bloomsbury as an intellectually remote and morally murky world, admiring only one of its members, Lytton Strachey. After Mary Berenson urged her to read Virginia Woolf ’s Orlando in 1928, Wharton responded viscerally to the advertising photographs of Woolf, claiming the images made her ‘quite ill’. The novel’s portrait of Vita Sackville-West, who had had an affair with Wharton’s friend Geoffrey Scott just prior to her liaison with Woolf, pressed a nerve: ‘I

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intellect, ‘in a world which had become emotional’. In 1917, Dickinson cemented his alliance with Bloombury by visiting Leonard and Virginia Woolf. Virginia, worried at his state, described him thus: ‘This war seems to possess him to leave little over. In fact he looked shrunk and worn’.18 Despite resigning his lectureship in 1920, disillusioned and worn out by his experiences during the war, Dickinson continued his literary campaign against conflict in the following years, writing in 1923 that ‘War, it is often said by its apologists, is not the greatest of evils. To me

in A war of individuals
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-war period, but who are largely forgotten now, such as the extraordinary Mabel St Clair Stobart. Finally, in order to show that Bloomsbury attitudes existed (consciously or unconsciously) farther away still from the scribbled thoughts of Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey and their friends, we will meet individuals who now live only in the memories of descendants or in bundles of papers and battered leather diaries stored carefully in archives around the world. intro.p65 3 03/07/02, 12:31 4 A war of individuals To accomplish this scope of research, a wide range of

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patriotism.’16 The common ground between these liberal perspectives and their Evangelical equivalents described above was a vision of universalism, a humanity that transcended all other considerations. Primarily, however, it was conceptions of international citizenship that gathered pace in the twentieth century and became more readily identified with feminist argument. Virginia Woolf ’s classic reformulation of women’s nationhood in Three Guineas epitomised this approach, and popularised the idea that women experienced their nationalism and patriotism in very different

in ‘The truest form of patriotism’
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Quentin Crisp as Orlando’s Elizabeth I

Sally Potter’s Orlando , an adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel, first screened at film festivals in 1992, before being released in cinemas internationally in 1993. The film opens in 1600, with Orlando (Tilda Swinton) serving as a poet and page in the court of Queen Elizabeth I (Quentin Crisp). Crisp’s appearance in Orlando is fleeting. The role, in its brevity, is

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productive and exciting of recent years. They are engaged with a variety of Anglo-American conjunctions. These extend from actual and intellectual encounters, readings or re-readings, professional and national rivalries and parallel activities. Some individuals only met each other on the printed page, some met face to face. Figures who should have met in person, like Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Sarah Grand, working with the same people and ideas but on different sides of the Atlantic, meet only in these pages. Similarly, Edith Wharton and Virginia Woolf expressed their

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further treatment he suffered his worst breakdown. Saunders analyses Ford’s agoraphobia as a ‘metaphorical repetition of a scene’ (Saunders I, p. 186). The scene is that of being overshadowed when a child by the Victorian Great Figures (Turgenev, Rossetti, Swinburne amongst them), an intensely visual scene that recurs throughout his autobiography (for Virginia Woolf, too, there was a strongly visual component to mental collapse23). It was the imagined sight of an ‘Implacable Face’ that precipitated his second major breakdown in 1911; Ford’s ability as an ‘halluciné

in Fragmenting modernism
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, Quentin Crisp appeared on cinema screens as Elizabeth I in Sally Potter’s adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando ; the following year he provided the ‘Alternative Queen’s Message’ on Britain’s Channel 4 television on Christmas Day, in direct competition with Elizabeth II’s own holiday address. The late 1980s and early 1990s had heralded a shift away from the lesbian and gay politics that had arisen in the 1970s towards a more

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British masculinities, pomophobia, and the post-nation

masculinist notions of man, self and nation. Although I develop no direct correspondence here, given the role that the ideology of ‘Englishness’ has historically played throughout these islands, I suggest that this critique of gender and national identity could be usefully adapted all across the Atlantic archipelago. The Union and Jack In striking contrast to Virginia Woolf’s cosmopolitan assertion in Three Guineas that ‘as a woman I have no country … As a woman my country is the whole world’ (1993 [1938]: 234), Antony Easthope writes in What a Man’s Gotta Do that ‘if I am

in Across the margins