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Book Reviews Edwardian Bloomsbury S. P. Rosenbaum. Edwardian Bloomsbury: The Early Literary History of the Bloomsbury Group, Volume Two. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994. vi + 559 pp. $35.00 THIS IS the second volume of a formidable enterprise, and part of a series of publications by the same author that may entitle him to the position as the leading scholar of the Bloomsbury Group. He started on a comparatively small scale in 1975 with a valuable anthology, The Bloomsbury Group, supplemented in 1993 with a second selection, The Bloomsbury Group Reader. In 1992 he published an edition of the manuscript οι A Room of One's Own, entitled Women & Fiction, based on the manuscript that he had discovered in the Library of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. But most important has been the present enterprise of which this is the second volume, taking the Group from 1903 through 1910. The first volume, Victorian Bloomsbury, published in 1987, concentrated on the origins of the Group and the experiences of its men at Cambridge, with particular emphasis upon Cambridge philosophy. Rosenbaum then hoped to complete his study with one more volume, but we are now promised a third, Georgian Bloomsbury, which will take the Group through the first World War. One assumes that volume three will complete the early literary history, as after 1918 the Group became far better known. They were in fact in those years somewhat less cohesive, though seeing a great deal of one another, and the golden years as a Group are probably in the eight years to be dealt with in the book to come. The time of its greatest reputation will still be in the future: after 1918 their productivity became so considerable that it would be a task, should anyone undertake it, requiring innumerable volumes to discuss their writings with the thoroughness that the present work demonstrates. The subtitle is to be taken quite literally. When appropriate, Rosenbaum alludes to later work, demonstrating his extraordinary command of the writings of the Group as well as of the critical literature. Even 205 ELT 38:2 1995 though the painters of the group, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, play a role, as they must, there is virtually no discussion of their work or the less significant paintings by Roger Fry. Fry's prose is given a chapter but as it is more significant for art history than as literature, he is not studied in the same detail. Rosenbaum also appears slightly less at ease with the writings of Leonard Woolf who was a civil servant in Ceylon during the period of the book and hence away from the main action. Rosenbaum does discuss his fiction—77ie Village in the Jungle and Stories from the East—but he is far less of a literary character than the other writers considered, and it doesn't quite work to use the relevant volume of autobiography, Growing, written many years later, as a major text of his Ceylon period when virtually all other writings considered are contemporary with their time. The work of the greatest twentietheconomist , John Maynard Keynes, is not discussed. It is a legitimate decision to exclude him, even though he would have provided further evidence for Rosenbaum's major theme: the great influence of the philosopher G. E. Moore. Except for E. M. Forster, who published four of his five novels at quite an early age in the period of this volume, and Roger Fry, who was quite a bit older, the other members of Bloomsbury were hardly known throughout this period. The third volume will herald their later fame to a much greater degree, as Virginia Woolf published her first novel, The Voyage Out, in 1915 and Lytton Strachey burst upon the world with Eminent Victorians in 1918. It is very impressive, however, to how great a degree Rosenbaum has managed to write with freshness and insight about Forster's novels, no matter how much they have been analyzed before. His concluding chapter on Howards End appears to me to be a tour de force. I would not, however, assent completely with his claim that Howards End is the essence of Bloomsbury. It seems to me to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 205-208
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Ceasing Publication
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