Cover image for Bloomsbury and France : art and friends
Bloomsbury and France : art and friends
Caws, Mary Ann.
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Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xviii, 430 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 25 cm
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Call Number
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NX543 .C38 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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"Bloomsbury on the Mediterranean," is how Vanessa Bell described France in a letter to her sister, Virginia Woolf. Remarking on the vivifying effect of Cassis, Woolf herself said, "I will take my mind out of its iron cage and let it swim.... Complete heaven, I think it." Yet until now therehas never been a book that focused on the profound influence of France on the Bloomsbury group. In Bloomsbury and France: Art and Friends, Mary Ann Caws and Sarah Bird Wright reveal the crucial importance of the Bloomsbury group's frequent sojourns to France, the artists and writers they met there, and the liberating effect of the country itself. Drawing upon many previously unpublishedletters, memoirs, and photographs, the book illuminates the artistic development of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Clive Bell, David Garnett, E. M. Forster, Lytton Strachey, Dora Carrington, and others. The authors cover all aspects of the Bloomsbury experience in France, from the specific influenceof French painting on the work of Roger Fry, Duncan Grant, and Vanessa Bell, to the heady atmosphere of the medieval Cistercian Abbaye de Pontigny, the celebrated meeting place of French intellectuals where Lytton Strachey, Julian Bell, and Charles Mauron mingled with writers and critics, to therelationships between the Bloomsbury group and Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Andre Gide, Jean Marchand, and many others. Caws and Wright argue that Bloomsbury would have been very different without France, that France was their anti-England, a culture in which their eccentricities and aesthetic experiments could flower. This remarkable study offers a rich new perspective on perhaps the most creative group of artistsand friends in the 20th century.

Author Notes

Mary Ann Caws is Distinguished Professor of English, French, and Comparative Literature, CUNY Graduate School and is the author of Women of Bloomsbury: Virginia, Vanessa, and Carrington. She lives in New York City.
Sarah Bird Wright is an independent scholar and the author of many books, including Edith Wharton A to Z: The Essential Guide to the Life and Work. She lives in Midlothian, Virginia.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

This richly illustrated volume documents the influence of all things French on the lives and work of some of the major figures in the Bloomsbury group, including Roger Fry, Lytton Strachey, Dora Carrington, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, and Virginia Woolf. Relying heavily on memoirs, diaries, and lettersÄsome of which remain unpublishedÄCaws (comparative literature, CUNY) and Wright (Edith Wharton A to Z) provide a detailed account of the group's activities on the other side of the channel: the foods they ate, the wines they drank, the plays they attended, and the people they befriended. They argue that, despite differences in language and cultural heritage, Bloomsbury's encounter with French artists and intellectuals, from Andr‚ Gide to Charles Mauron, "resulted in a remarkable reshaping of their aesthetic and literary ideals." A solid piece of scholarship, this thorough study is best suited for graduate students and scholars, particularly those interested in a comparative approach.ÄWilliam Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Interest in the Bloomsbury writers and artists never seems to flag. The major literary figures have received deserved critical attention and, most recently, London's Tate Gallery mounted an exhibition, The Art of Bloomsbury. Bloomsbury and France by Caws (CUNY) and Wright (independent scholar), authors, respectively, of books on Bloomsbury women and Edith Wharton, focuses on the group's Francophila. It is a serious, well-researched addition to the literature but is inconsistent in making its case for the importance of the French connection for these Britons. With Roger Fry and Duncan Grant, there is a convincing argument for significant engagement with things French, but with other figures the influence seems less secure. The text is peppered with numerous monochrome illustrations (and a section of 16 good color plates) but, annoyingly, their full documentation is in an unnumbered list at the back of the book where there is also a "List of Major Figures" providing capsule biographies but not birth or death dates. This is followed by a chronology, endnotes, and index. In sum, a useful contribution to the field, for upper-division undergraduate and graduate students, but most useful to scholars and researchers. W. S. Rodner; Tidewater Community College

Table of Contents

Michael Holroyd
Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Sourcesp. xiv
Abbreviations and Archivesp. xv
Mapsp. xvii
Introductionp. 3
I Founding Bloomsbury in Francep. 17
Beginnings: Friends in France, 1896-1910p. 21
Lytton Strachey, Dora Carrington, Ralph Partridgep. 29
Virginia Woolf, Leonard Woolf, Vita Sackville-Westp. 49
Clive Bell and His Circlep. 73
John Maynard Keynesp. 95
Ottoline Morrellp. 107
Ethel Sands and Nan Hudsonp. 123
Frances Partridgep. 131
II Painters Across the Channel, 1910-1938p. 147
Painters in France, 1910-1921: Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, Roger Fryp. 149
Painters in Provence, 1921-1938
St.-Tropez, 1921-1927p. 179
Duncan Grant Aboard the Arequipa, 1924-1925p. 191
Cassis, 1925-1929p. 197
Last Years in the Midi, 1930-1938p. 223
Visual Translationsp. 235
III Writers and Thinkersp. 265
The Maurons, E. M. Forster, Julian Bell, and Bloomsburyp. 267
Intellectuals at Pontignyp. 291
Roger Fry's Francep. 303
Simon and Dorothy Bussy, Andre Gidep. 327
Literary Translationsp. 351
Conclusionp. 371
List of Major Figuresp. 373
Chronologyp. 379
Notesp. 387
Selected Bibliographyp. 407
List of Illustrationsp. 410
Indexp. 416