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Queer Bloomsbury

Edited by Brenda S. Helt, Madelyn Detloff

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The first collection to bring together contemporary and classic writings on queer Bloomsbury

This anthology presents fifteen wide-ranging readings that trace the cultural, ideological and aesthetic facets of the Bloomsbury Group’s development as a queer subculture. In addition to new essays by widely recognized Bloomsbury scholars, five important ground-breaking essays are republished here, including Carolyn Heilbrun’s germinal 1968 essay on the sexual dissidence of the Bloomsbury Group and Christopher Reed’s influential 1991 essay exposing homophobia among academic scholars writing about the group. Also included are rarely seen reproductions of Duncan Grant’s work from the Charleston archives as well as Dora Carrington’s work from archives and a private collection. Queer Bloomsbury provides substantive information on the queer philosophical and ethical underpinnings of the Bloomsbury Group.

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Contents

Editors’ Introduction, Madelyn Detloff and Brenda Helt
Part 1: Ground-breaking Essays
Introduction to Carolyn Heilbrun’s ‘The Bloomsbury Group’, 1968, Brenda R. Silver
The Bloomsbury Group, Carolyn Heilbrun
‘Bloomsbury Bashing’ Revisited – Twenty-five Years On
Bloomsbury Bashing: Homophobia and the Politics of Criticism in the Eighties, Christopher Reed
‘Camp Sites’ Revisited – Eighteen Years On
Camp Sites: Forster and the Biographies of Queer Bloomsbury, George Piggford
‘Redecorating the International Economy’ Revisited – Seventeen Years On
Redecorating the International Economy: Keynes, Grant, and the Queering of Bretton Woods [abridged], Bill Maurer
Passionate Debates on ‘Odious Subjects’: Bisexuality and Woolf’s Opposition to Theories of Androgyny and Sexual Identity [abridged], Brenda Helt
Part 2: New Essays
The Bloomsbury Love Triangle, Regina Marler
Duncan Grant and Charleston’s Queer Arcadia, Darren Clarke
Nailed: Lytton Strachey’s Jesus Camp, Todd Avery
[T]here were so many things I wanted to do & didn’t’: The Queer Potential of Carrington’s Life and Art, Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina
Making Sense of Wittgenstein’s Bloomsbury and Bloomsbury’s Wittgenstein, Gaile Pohlhaus, Jr. and Madelyn Detloff
Deviant Desires and the Queering of Leonard Woolf, Elyse Blankley
Clive Bell, ‘a fathead and a voluptuary’: Conscientious Objection and British Masculinity, Mark Hussey
‘I didn’t know there could be such writing’: The Aesthetic Intimacy of E. M. Forster and T. E. Lawrence, Jodie Medd
Virginia Woolf’s Queer Time and Place: Wartime London and a World Aslant, Kimberly Engdahl Coates.

About the Author

Brenda Helt is an Independent Scholar with a PhD in English and Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota. She has taught courses in English and Queer Studies at The Ohio State University, the University of Minnesota, and Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN. Her recent publications include an award-winning essay on Woolf in Twentieth Century Literature and an essay in The Cambridge Companion to H.D. She co-edited (with Madelyn Detloff) a special issue of the Virginia Woolf Miscellany titled “Queering Woolf.” She is now a full-time fine artist in San Diego, and painted the cover for Queer Bloomsbury.

Madelyn Detloff is Associate Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Miami University. She is author of The Value of Woolf (Cambridge UP), The Persistence of Modernism: Loss and Mourning in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge UP), and several essays on queer and feminist theory, modernism, and feminist studies. She is the former Vice President of the International Virginia Woolf Society and former co-chair of the H.D. International Society.

Reviews

This highly readable collection has some surprises for those who think the contours of Bloomsbury’s queerness self-evident. With its significant attention to lives as well as works, the volume shows that if the celebrated coterie affirms some of the pieties that now characterize discourse on queerness, it disrupts many others. The contributors are joyfully united in their admiration for Bloomsbury, yet their accounts are diverse in import and abundant in provocations to further inquiry.

- Johns Hopkins University, Douglas Mao

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