Bloomsbury Group

Bloomsbury group, name given to the literary group that made the Bloomsbury area of London the center of its activities from 1904 to World War II. It included Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf, Leonard Woolf, E. M. Forster, Vita Sackville-West, Roger Fry, Clive Bell, and John Maynard Keynes. The group began as a social clique: a few recent Cambridge graduates and their closest friends would assemble on Thursday nights for drinks and conversation. Its members were committed to a rejection of what they felt were the strictures and taboos of Victorianism on religious, artistic, social, and sexual matters. They remained a fairly tight-knit group for many years; recent biographers have detailed their tangled personal relations. By the 1920s Bloomsbury's reputation as a cultural circle was fully established to the extent that its mannerisms were parodied and Bloomsbury became a widely used term connoting an insular, snobbish aestheticism. Unique in the brilliance, variety, and output of its members, the group has remained the focus of widespread scholarly and popular interest.


See J. K. Johnstone, The Bloomsbury Group (1954); L. Woolf, Beginning Again (1964); Q. Bell, Bloomsbury (1969) and Bloomsbury Recalled (1996); S. P. Rosenbaum, The Bloomsbury Group (1975); A. Garnett, Deceived with Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood (1985); L. J. Markert, The Bloomsbury Group: A Reference Guide (1990).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Bloomsbury Group: Selected full-text books and articles

Bloomsbury at Home
Pamela Todd.
Harry N. Abrams, 1999
A War of Individuals: Bloomsbury Attitudes to the Great War
Jonathan Atkin.
Manchester University Press, 2002
The Blinding Torch: Modern British Fiction and the Discourse of Civilization
Brian W. Shaffer.
University of Massachusetts Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Civilization in Post-Great War Bloomsbury: Woolf's 'Twenties' Novels and Bell's Civilization and On British Freedom"
Some Bloomsbury Interviews and Memories
Stone, Wilfred.
Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 43, No. 2, Summer 1997
Old Friends: Personal Recollections
Clive Bell.
Harcourt, Brace, 1957
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VIII "Bloomsbury"
Seeing Together: Friendship between the Sexes in English Writing from Mill to Woolf
Victor Luftig.
Stanford University, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Bloomsbury's Alternatives" begins on p. 169
Culture Clash: The Making of Gay Sensibility
Michael Bronski.
South End Press, 1984
Librarian’s tip: "Bloomsbury and the Fathers" begins on p. 66
Virginia Woolf: Centennial Essays
Elaine K. Ginsberg; Laura Moss Gottlieb.
Whitston, 1983
Librarian’s tip: "Virginia Woolf and the Intellectual Origins of Bloomsbury" begins on p. 11
Keynes: A Critical Life
David Felix.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Elective Affinities and Responsibilities: Keynes in Bloomsbury"
Encyclopedia of Literary Modernism
Paul Poplawski.
Greenwood Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: "Bloomsbury" begins on p. 25
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