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The Bloomsbury Group – a phenomenon

The Bloomsbury Group was a group of associated English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists, the best-known members of which included Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey. This loose collective of friends and relatives were closely associated with Cambridge University for the men and King’s College London for the women, and they lived, worked or studied together near Bloomsbury, London, during the first half of the 20th century.

Virginia Woolf - the Bloomsbury group

The Bloomsbury Group

The Bloomsbury Group was elitist and snobbish but it interests me because members of the group broke down the barriers between them and discussed life and their philosophy of life. They supported each other and that helped them develop as individuals. They were from different disciplines but had philosophy and education in common. I became interested in the group because of my interest in Wednesbury history and the daughter of Doctor Garman of Oakeswell Hall, Kathleen Garman, who was a member of the Bloomsbury Group.


The group denied it was a formal group but it seems that Virginia Woolf led the group. Formal groups need a chairman or chairwoman to keep order. A group needs a leader and although the Bloomsbury Group wasn’t a formal group. I think Virginia Woolf was a strong personality who had the soft skills to lead the group without the need to be dictatorial. It would seem members of the group also developed a mutual respect for one another. They were all creative in their own way and that gave them a commonality. Commonality binds a group together. Even in these days of social media, Facebook and LinkedIn groups are bound by a common interest.

The 21st century

I wonder if such a group could exist in the 21st century. We have lost our innocence. The Bloomsbury group defied the innocence of their time and discussed new ideas. The group was first called ‘Bloomsbury’ in 1912 when Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and other artist friends showed their work at an exhibition, the Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition, organised in London by their art critic friend Roger Fry. I’m sure the whole group went along to see the exhibition and encouraged their friends to do so too. They had a collective influence on art, particularly post-impressionism. There isn’t a new and developing school of art in the 21st century. It is still dominated by money and power. The Bloomsbury group, to some extent, disrupted the status quo and introduced their new ideas.

That’s it for today, I hope I have given you an insight into the way the Bloomsbury Group influenced society in the early part of the 20th century. If you would like to follow my blog just enter your email address at the top of the sidebar or follow me on Twitter for links to the latest post. You can also find links on my Facebook page.

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