Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

"Oh, Virginia, Are You Home?"

August 24, 2009 · 2 Comments

V Woolf

Yesterday, among the jam-packed day of activities (Passing the Tower of London and following the Roman wall, seeing the Museum of London, and visiting St. Paul’s), I went on a Qualls-guided-tour of the Bloomsbury district. For those of you who don’t know what the Bloomsbury Group is, they were about the hippest, coolest, people in the 20th century. They were artists and writers who threw elaborate cool parties and talked about politics and sometimes even swapped partners (homosexuality was still illegal in England at this time)!

Bloomsbury Plaque

Bloomsbury Plaque

How do I know all this, you ask? Well it’s because I know everything! Actually, I spent my second semester of last year pretty much completely immersed in a course called, Forester’s England, taught by Professor Wendy Moffat. While writer E. M. Forster himself was not a member of the Bloomsbury group, it was through this class that I learned so much about the group, its members, and their importance to the time period and England’s history. With all this in mind, it was probably one of the most exciting things I will do during this London course, to stand where these great, free spirited, free thinking people stood. Knowing all that was on the lone, these artists and writers strove to change the society before them. Being able to see where that was happening was truly amazing.

Virginia Woolf Bust

Virginia Woolf Bust

After our class discussion this morning about English people’s connection to their country’s history, and their “English Pride,” it is even more exciting to think about the Bloomsbury group and just how revolutionary their ideas and way of life were. Even the idea of political change is not something most everyday English people think of, let alone act on! As an artist myself, I know the power of the creative arts as motivation for political change and activism.

Standing where Virginia Woolf once stood, where John Maynard Keynes once discussed his economic theories, where Vanessa Bell once must have visited her sister and painted, I only hope that someday my creative efforts can achieve as much as theirs did.

Below is a slide show of photos from my full day, including the Bloomsbury tour, St. Paul’s, and the Museum of London.

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