Young Bloomsbury: The Generation that Redefined Love, Freedom, and Self-Expression in 1920s England | Mechanics' Institute

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Young Bloomsbury: The Generation that Redefined Love, Freedom, and Self-Expression in 1920s England
with author Nino Strachey in Conversation with SFSU Professor Loretta Stec

This event will be held on Zoom

An “illuminating” (Daily Mail, London) exploration of the second generation of the iconic Bloomsbury Group, who inspired their elders to new heights of creativity and passion while also pushing the boundaries of sexual freedom and gender norms in 1920s England.

In the years before the First World War, a collection of writers and artists—Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, and Lytton Strachey among them—began to make a name for themselves in England and America for their irreverent spirit and provocative works of literature, art, and criticism. They called themselves the Bloomsbury Group and by the 1920s, they were at the height of their influence.

Then a new generation stepped forward—creative young people who tantalized their elders with their captivating looks, bold ideas, and subversive energy. Young Bloomsbury introduces us to this colorful cast of characters, including novelist Eddy Sackville-West, who wore elaborate make-up and dressed in satin and black velvet; artist Stephen Tomlin, who sculpted the heads of his male and female lovers; and author Julia Strachey, who wrote a searing tale of blighted love. Talented and productive, these larger-than-life figures had high-achieving professional lives and extremely complicated emotional lives.

The group had always celebrated sexual equality and freedom in private, feeling that every person had the right to live and love in the way they chose. But as transgressive self-expression became more public, this younger generation gave Old Bloomsbury a new voice. Revealing an aspect of history not yet explored and with “effervescent detail” (Juliet Nicolson, author of Frostquake), Young Bloomsbury celebrates an open way of living and loving that would not be embraced for another hundred years.

Nino Strachey is the last member of the Strachey family to have grown up at Sutton Court in Somerset, home of the family for more than three hundred years. After studying at Oxford University and the Courtauld Institute, Nino worked as a curator for the National Trust and English Heritage. She is also the author of Rooms of Their Own. She lives in West London with her husband and child. Follow her on Twitter @NinoStrachey. (Photo by Alex Schneideman)

 

 

 

 

Loretta Stec is a Professor in the English Department of San Francisco State University where she teaches courses on modernist literature with a focus on women writers; animal studies and literature; Southern African literature in English; and literature of exile and migration. One of her favorite courses to teach is an intensive study of Virginia Woolf’s works. She has published articles on Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, D.H. Lawrence, Bessie Head, and other 20th-century writers.

 

Cosponsored by Fromm Institute

Members of Mechanics' Institute & Cosponsor FREE; Public Sliding Scale $5 to $10

 

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