The Bloomsbury group

World War One shattered the moral and intellectual foundations of society, leaving individuals disconnected and disillusioned. Artists rejected the Victorian age with its moralism, self-righteousness and self-conscious elegance. Instead they searched for new ways to express themselves more in tune with the modern society around them. One group had already begun before the war. They were known as the Bloomsbury group, because of their London neighbourhood. They experimented with new techniques of writing – breaking up the narrative, changing the order of events, weaving symbolic meaning into descriptions, introducing the reader into the characters’ “stream of consciousness” and much more.

bloomsbury

The aim was to find new ways to convey a new reality. They were attempting to use their art to change the consciousness of mankind – a kind of revolutionary art. They wanted to find ways to make readers active partners. For example, instead of giving moral lessons, they raise moral questions that force the readers to find answers themselves. Instead of writing long wordy explanations, they prefer short hints that challenge the readers to interpret. Rather than using the old forms of poetry, they preferred free verse, sometimes creating entirely new frames of reference (or none at all!). Nor did they respect rules of grammar, spelling or punctuation. Any means at all, no matter how shocking, was acceptable if it could get through to readers and make them see the world anew. 

 

TASK

Find out who were members of the Bloomsbury group. What kind of ambitions did they have? Some considered them to be extreme and radical. Would they still be viewed this way today, do you think?