Cover: On or About December 1910: Early Bloomsbury and Its Intimate World, from Harvard University PressCover: On or About December 1910 in PAPERBACK

On or About December 1910

Early Bloomsbury and Its Intimate World

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Product Details


$44.00 • £35.95 • €39.50

ISBN 9780674636064

Publication Date: 10/30/1997


300 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

6 halftones, 7 line illustrations

Studies in Cultural History


Peter Stansky makes a strong case for 1910 as a galvanizing year in which this promising but largely unknown group of friends established a decisive public identity. With a wealth of detail, Stansky fleshes out what he considers the crucial events of their year--the Dreadnought Hoax, the legendary First Post-Impressionist Exhibition and the appearance of E.M. Forster’s next-to-last novel, ’Howards End’...Although ’On or About 1910’ covers a period of Bloomsbury that many other writers have explored, Stansky skips the usual panoply of anecdotes and offers instead a genuine history, rich in political and social contexts for what might otherwise seem merely youthful high spirits and lukewarm middle-class rebellion. He makes it clear how Bloomsbury could subvert Edwardian materialism from a position of financial security and youthful family connections...With considerable skill, Stansky [also] places Bloomsbury’s artistic and domestic rebellions against the backdrop of the women’s suffrage movement, military buildup and the struggle to limit the power of the House of Lords.—Regina Marler, San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

The main purpose of this book is at once to introduce the main figures--E M Forster, Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, Lytton Strachey and John Maynard Keynes, as well as Woolf herself--while setting them, and the general movement of literature and art, in a detailed historical context...The association of Forster’s growing acceptance of his homosexuality with the emergence of more sensuous and violent operas, a new sense of sexual liberation in literature and the arts, along with the reinstatement of Oscar Wilde as a cultural reference, all in that month of December 1910, makes for stimulating reading.—John R. Bradley, Independent on Sunday

Ably and diversely, [Stansky] shows that 1910 marked as distinct a turning point in Bloomsbury lives as it did in a country lit by Halley’s comet and Strauss’s ’Elektra’...Peter Stansky’s book is a useful reminder that, for all their folly, members of the Bloomsbury group have serious claims upon posterity. Addictively, infuriatingly so.—Christopher Hawtree, Boston Globe

This excellent book gives a gossipy glimpse of England when, in 1910, it tottered belatedly into the twentieth century...Curious times, but then, Bloomsbury was a curious world whose aesthetes dipped more readily into each others’ bodies than their fledgling quills to ink.—Brian Davis, Time Out [UK

[Stansky] brings together the many strands of personal, literary, social, and artistic history that were to form the core of the modernist movement. Although much of this information can be gleaned from the individual biographies, this intense focus on a single, eventful year, rather than on the personalities, is quite successful. Stansky is able to give a vivid and immediate understanding of an era important to students of 20th-century culture.—Library Journal

This is a work of scholarship that highlights the very beginnings of a group of highly individual, talented and far-sighted people...It is clear, succinct without convolutions and entertaining.—Adam An-tAnthair-Síoraí, Icarus (British Mensa)

Did England stagger into modernity in 1910? Few better to consider the question than Peter Stansky, a veteran connoisseur of the group.—Noel Annan

Woolf’s much-quoted observation that ’on or about December 1910 human character changed’ provides the organizing principle of this imaginative cultural study. Stansky charts the complex personal relations of early Bloomsbury...[P]atterns do emerge that give point to Woolf’s sound bite about 1910 and should engage the general reader, reward advanced students, and enlighten even dyed-in-the-Woolf scholars.Choice

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