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Rosemary Ashton: Victorian Bloomsbury

Victorian Bloomsbury

by Rosemary Ashton

Yale University Press (Inbooks), $54.95 hb, 393 pp, 9780300154474

‘Victorian Bloomsbury’ appears to be a contradiction in terms. ‘Bloomsbury’, as in ‘the Bloomsbury Group’, is shorthand for the group of writers, artists, and thinkers including Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Clive and Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and Maynard Keynes, who gathered in the area of central London between Euston Road and Holborn in the early decades of the twentieth century. Disparate in some ways, they united in reaction against what they felt to be the oppressive social conventions and outmoded values of the Victorian period, a reaction epitomised by Lytton Strachey’s irreverent Eminent Victorians (1918).

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Published in November 2012 no. 346

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