I should probably rename this regular feature, as it often spotlights artists, musicians, and other creative-types. Until I decide on a new one (suggestions welcome!), however, Book Nerd Links it shall remain.
About: The author was the younger son of Vanessa and Clive Bell, two central figures in the Bloomsbury group (which was really just a loose network of friends, family and acquaintances). His aunt was, of course, novelist Virginia Woolf. Bloomsbury Recalled is his brief but excellently engaging memoir of the fascinating adults who formed his parents’ social and professional circles from WWI to the start of the next great international conflict at the end of the 1930s. The little boy who grew up in a sticky web of conflicting personalities and crossed goals became an accomplished polymath with a distinctive, intelligent and highly amusing voice. His relaxed nature, probing wit and compelling birthright give this book a sparkle that the average Bloomsbury retrospective sorely lacks.
Motivation: Bloomsbury? Check. A relatively unbiased insider’s view? Check. Writers, artists and theorists? Oh my! Seriously, this book covers one of my favourite literary periods. That is reason enough.
English: Portrait of Clive Bell (Photo credit: Wikipedia). The author’s father.
Times Read: 3
Random Excerpt/Pages 11 & 12 : “I was not alarmed. I was convinced that I was not really consumptive; also, apart from the cough and high temperature, I did not feel at all ill. I enjoyed some fierce arguments with a clergyman, managed to do a little painting, and embarked upon historical research on the principality of Monaco for which I was totally unqualified.”
This is a rare recorded interview of Leonard Woolf speaking about his wife, Virginia, and their friends and fellow artists in that loose, non-movement called the Bloomsbury Group. It is nearly ten minutes long but is well worth your time. It was recorded in May 1964, when Leonard was 83.