Bloomsbury Recalled

Quentin Bell, Author
Quentin Bell, Author Columbia University Press $83 (256p) ISBN 978-0-231-10564-4
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-231-10565-1
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One of the last surviving members of the Bloomsbury circle, Bell, painter, sculptor and art critic, offers a disarmingly candid portrait gallery of major and peripheral Bloomsbury figures. His father, Clive Bell, married the author's mother, Vanessa Stephen (Virginia Woolf's sister) in 1907 but ""from 1916 Clive was hardly part of the family."" He pursued love affairs while Vanessa, after a clandestine affair with art critic Roger Fry, lived openly with bisexual painter Duncan Grant, with whom she had a daughter, Angelica. Clive, Duncan and Vanessa were reunited under one roof in 1939, and the author conveys a sense of the emotional strain of growing up in ""a multi-parent family."" Acclaimed biographer of his aunt, Virginia Woolf, Bell here defends her as a feminist and pacifist. Along with chapters on John Maynard Keynes, Ottoline Morrell and art historian/spy Anthony Blunt, there are glimpses of Lytton Strachey, novelist David Garnett (Angelica's husband) and Dame Ethel Smyth, who fell in love with Virginia Woolf. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Mar.)
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