English 100

Junior Seminar: The Bloomsbury Group and British Modernism

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
9 Spring 2007 Hollis, Catherine
Hollis, Catherine
TTh 11-12:30 109 Wheeler
Other Readings and Media

Mulk Raj Anand: Untouchable; Mary Butts: The Taverner Novels; Michael Cunningham: The Hours; E.M. Forster: Howard's End; Sigmund Freud: Civilization and its Discontents; Katherine Mansfield: Stories; Lytton Strachey: Eminent Victorians; Virginia Woolf: Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse. A course reader will include primary texts from Clive Bell, Roger Fry, J.M. Keynes, Bertrand Russell, and Leonard Woolf, as well as critical essays. Art and design by Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and the Omega Workshop will be viewed in class.


"This course places Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group in context with larger developments in British modernism. Bloomsbury is a neighborhood in London that includes Russell Square, the British Museum, and University College London. But Bloomsbury also refers to the early 20th -century group of novelists, painters, publishers, economists, and philosophers who have become identified with the neighborhood in which they lived: Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell, Lytton Strachey, J.M. Keynes, and Bertrand Russell, among others, friends and relations who challenged conventions in art, literature, and philosophy.

The Bloomsbury group also challenged social conventions in their private lives, through the choices they made about families, marriages, sexual partners, and home d?cor. ?On or about December 1910 human character changed?: so wrote Virginia Woolf in her 1924 essay, ?Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown,? raising a variety of questions that we will be exploring in this course. What kinds of shifts in ?human relations? were occurring in the early decades of the 20th century and how were these shifts represented in art and literature? What role did Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group play in the modernization of art and life? In the emerging new sexualities of inter-war modernist culture? What influence does the collaborative nature of the group have on their visual and literary art, aesthetic and philosophical theories, political and social commitments? Finally, what role does ?Virginia Woolf? and the ?Bloomsbury Group? perform in our own 21st-century culture? "

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