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ON DEMAND Bloomsbury at Home: Love and Sex

Bloomsbury has long divided opinion. To some they are a privileged elite, unoriginal and self-absorbed. To others they are at they were at the vanguard of modernism, decades ahead of the social, moral and artistic codes of the day. Leonard Woolf wrote that the Bloomsbury group were “A largely imaginary group of persons… with largely imaginary characteristics". This series of talks strips back the layers of mythology surrounding the Bloomsbury group and goes back to source. This is the Bloomsbury group in their own words.

 

This mini-series of talks will explore extracts from books, essays, articles, letters and diaries written by different members of the Bloomsbury group. These are informal and relaxed sessions, open to all, with no need to read anything in advance. Simply log in, settle down with your tea or coffee, and immerse yourself in literature, thoughts and ideas with our reader-in-residence Holly Dawson.  You will be sent an email in advance of the talk with a link, login details and extracts to read along with.

 

Week 3

Love & Sex

 

“Suddenly the door opened and the long and sinister figure of Mr Lytton Strachey stood on the threshold. He pointed his finger at a stain on Vanessa’s white dress.

‘Semen?’ he said.
Can one really say it? I thought and we burst out laughing. With that one word all barriers of reticence and reserve went down. Sex permeated our conversation. The word bugger was never far from our lips.” (Virginia Woolf)

 

The Bloomsbury group famously lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles. Their personal lives have sometimes been seen as a distraction from the importance of their work, but this session explores how the transgression of traditional relationship models went hand in hand with their pursuit of a new and radical aesthetic. Decades ahead of the social and moral codes of the day, the fluid nature of their relationships has resonance even today. We look at the overlapping and complicated relationships within Bloomsbury and explore what part love played within them.

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Bloomsbury has long divided opinion. To some they are a privileged elite, unoriginal and self-absorbed. To others they are at they were at the vanguard of modernism, decades ahead of the social, moral and artistic codes of the day. Leonard Woolf wrote that the Bloomsbury group were “A largely imaginary group of persons… with largely imaginary characteristics". This series of talks strips back the layers of mythology surrounding the Bloomsbury group and goes back to source. This is the Bloomsbury group in their own words.

 

This mini-series of talks will explore extracts from books, essays, articles, letters and diaries written by different members of the Bloomsbury group. These are informal and relaxed sessions, open to all, with no need to read anything in advance. Simply log in, settle down with your tea or coffee, and immerse yourself in literature, thoughts and ideas with our reader-in-residence Holly Dawson.  You will be sent an email in advance of the talk with a link, login details and extracts to read along with.

 

Week 3

Love & Sex

 

“Suddenly the door opened and the long and sinister figure of Mr Lytton Strachey stood on the threshold. He pointed his finger at a stain on Vanessa’s white dress.

‘Semen?’ he said.
Can one really say it? I thought and we burst out laughing. With that one word all barriers of reticence and reserve went down. Sex permeated our conversation. The word bugger was never far from our lips.” (Virginia Woolf)

 

The Bloomsbury group famously lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles. Their personal lives have sometimes been seen as a distraction from the importance of their work, but this session explores how the transgression of traditional relationship models went hand in hand with their pursuit of a new and radical aesthetic. Decades ahead of the social and moral codes of the day, the fluid nature of their relationships has resonance even today. We look at the overlapping and complicated relationships within Bloomsbury and explore what part love played within them.