Snapshots of Bloomsbury: The Private Lives of Virginia Woolf

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9780813537061: Snapshots of Bloomsbury: The Private Lives of Virginia Woolf
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In this enthralling portrait, Maggie Humm makes available for the first time a trove of barely known photographs, both amateur and professional, casting new light on the private lives of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell as well as the historical, cultural, and artistic milieux of their circle in Bloomsbury and beyond.

            We visit the domestic lives of major nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers and artists, such as E. M. Forster, who is pictured happily engaged in the task of pruning trees with Leonard Woolf. We see T. S. Eliot and his wife, Vivienne, and Thoby Stephen “Kodaking” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There are intimate portraits of Vanessa Bell’s children and erotic photos of Duncan Grant’s lovers. Also included are many photographs of a happy and contented Virgina Woolf, which provide an often neglected balance to our sense of her as neurotic and eccentric.

            The parade of characters is long and full, including Cyril Connolly, Vita Sackville-West, Roger Fry, David Garnett, Lady Ottoline Morrell, Walter Sickert, Clive Bell, the Stracheys, Dora Carrington, John Maynard Keynes, and many more. The domestic photographs, taken predominantly with the enormously popular vest-pocket Kodak cameras of the time, are complemented by professional photographs by Man Ray and Gisèle Freund.

            Beyond illustrating the remarkable range of the Woolfs’ and Bell’s aesthetic vocabularies, the photographs pose an important challenge to language-centered critiques of modernism. Drawing on Foucault and gender, memory, and psychoanalytic theory, Humm shows how modernism is indebted, more than we realize, to the popular culture of photography.

            Meticulously researched and painstakingly organized, this unique book brings critical insight to the uncatalogued photographs from the Harvard Theatre collection and the photographs of the Tate archives. In doing so, Snapshots of Bloomsbury makes a major contribution to Woolf scholarship.

 

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About the Author:

Maggie Humm is a professor of cultural studies at the University of East London.

Review:

"Finally, a superb collection of the domestic photographs so central to the family histories and autobiographical art of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. In this beautifully illustrated album, Maggie Humm mixes previously unknown snapshots with iconic portraits, bringing together the family and friends who shared with the sisters not only their photos but their passion for life." (Brenda Silver author of Virginia Woolf Icon 2099-01-01)

"This rich compendium of images is accompanied by the first comprehensive, theoretically informed, historical overview of Bloomsbury photography. The book will enthrall many, with its inclusion of hitherto unpublished images, and will enhance comprehension of the narratives embedded in these repositories of memory. Maggie Humm is the leading authority on Bloomsbury photography and her catalogue of the Monk's House Albums is here included. A real feast of a book." (Frances Spalding art historian and biographer of Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant 2099-01-01)

"Maggie Humm opens up an unexplored aspect of Virginia Woolf with her fascinating study of snapshots." (Lyndall Gordon author of Virginia Woolf: A Writer's Life 2099-01-01)

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9781854376725: Snapshots of Bloomsbury: Private Live

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ISBN 10:  1854376721 ISBN 13:  9781854376725
Publisher: Tate Publishing, 2006
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