“Democratic Highbrow”: Bloomsbury between Élite and Mass Culture


Marina Lops; Antonella Trotta; Flora de Giovanni; Francesca Orestano; Rossana Bonadei; Maria Teresa Chialant; Claudio Zambianchi; Todd Avery; Benedetta Guerrini degl’Innocenti; Nicola Wilson; Ilaria Andreoli; Salvatore Bizzarro; Gerardo Salvati; Francesca Manes Rossi; Alessandra Allini; Riccardo Macchioni


With its fluid boundaries, the Bloomsbury Group was first and foremost a circle of friends who shared a similar social background and progressive political views. Named after the small neighbourhood in London where some of its members settled as young adults, the Group included some of the leading artists and writers of the interwar period – from Virginia Woolf to E. M. Forster, from Vanessa to Clive Bell, from Roger Fry to Lytton Strachey, among others – as well as John Maynard Keynes, one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century. Variously considered an elitist coterie and a democratic avant-garde, the Group not only left behind an intellectual legacy as impressive as it was diverse, but also introduced a new way of living and working that helped to mark a definitive break with Victorian tradition and paved the way to modernity in British culture. Privileging a multidisciplinary perspective encompassing literature and cultural history, history of art and economics, this volume explores the protean and multifarious identity of Bloomsbury, celebrated by some as an intellectual authority and denigrated by others as an eccentric circle that “lived in squares and loved in triangles”.


  • Bloomsbury between Élite and Mass Culture
    A Selective Introduction
    Marina Lops, Antonella Trotta
  • Citizens of the Bloomsbury Nation
    Flora de Giovanni
  • Virginia Woolf and the Art of Cooking
    Francesca Orestano
  • In Wireless Conversation
    Bloomsbury and the Radio Days
    Rossana Bonadei
  • Poets, Empire-builders and Proles
    Class Conflict and England’s Destiny in E. M. Forster’s Howards End
    Maria Teresa Chialant
  • From the Grafton Galleries to the Armory Show
    Roger Fry’s Influence in Britain and the U.S. (ca. 1910-1913)
    Claudio Zambianchi
  • A Mandarin for the Masses
    Lytton Strachey’s Jesus Complex
    Todd Avery
  • “England belonged to them”
    Edward Carpenter and Forster’s “Utopia” of Masculine Love in Maurice
    Marina Lops
  • “A house full with unrelated passions”
    Bloomsbury and Psychoanalysis
    Benedetta Guerrini degl’Innocenti
  • Bloomsbury, the Hogarth Press, and the Book Society Limited
    Nicola Wilson
  • Bloomsbury in Print
    Book Illustrations from the Omega Workshops and the Hogarth Press
    Ilaria Andreoli
  • Why Do They Go to the Pictures? Clive Bell and the New “Home” Audience
    Antonella Trotta
  • The Meaning of Pictures
    Roger Fry on the Radio
    Salvatore Bizzarro
  • Virginia Woolf, the Dandy and the BBC
    Gerardo Salvati
  • The Territorial Report as an Accountability Tool
    A Proposal for Bloomsbury
    Francesca Manes Rossi, Alessandra Allini, Riccardo Macchioni



May 26, 2022