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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2010

E 397M • Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Circle

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Meeting time, location: (Official course schedule)

In this course we will be examining the works of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, and additional members of the Bloomsbury Circle. We will also be exploring some of the Hogarth Press's abundant non-literary, explicitly anti-imperialist works, for example, Edward Thompson's The Other Side of the Medal (1925—a critical history of the Indian Uprising); J. A Hobson’s Notes on Law and Order (1926); Kathleen Innes’s The League of Nations and the World’s Workers (1927), Alice Ritchie’s Occupied Territory (1930); and C. L. R. James’s The Case for West-Indian Self Government (1933).

One of the guiding questions for the seminar is: what is the relationship between the age, energy, aesthetics and politics of empire and imperialism and the modernist era? How are these novelists, art historians, biographers, and essayists of the Bloomsbury Circle negotiating, revising, rejecting, or transforming their shared and respective Victorian-Edwardian ideological, cultural and intellectual heritages and legacies. We will be reading Bloomsbury travel narratives, novels, essays, biographies, and art histories/art criticism. Bloomsbury encounters with suffrage, Fabian and anti-imperialist politics and organizations will be a central concern, as will formalist and aesthetic engagements with modernist art movements and ideas (for example, post-impressionism, orientalism and primitivism).


Virginia Woolf. The Voyage Out (1915), The Waves (1931), Three Guineas (1938), and selected essays.

Leonard Woolf. The Village in the Jungle (1913), Growing: An Autobiography of the Years 1904-1911 (1961).

William Plomer. Turbotte Wolfe (1926), "Conversation with my Younger Self" (1962), and “Johannesburg I & II.”

Vita Sackville-West. Passenger to Tehran (1926).

Winifred Holtby. Mandoa, Mandoa! A comedy of irrelevance (1933).

Mulk Raj Anand. Coolie (1936) and Conversations in Bloomsbury (1981).

Essays in Reader:

Roger Fry. Transformations: Critical and Speculative Essays on Art, Vision and Design (selections).

Leonard Woolf. Imperialism and Civilization (selections).

Howard Booth and Nigel Rigby. Eds. Modernism and Empire (selections).

Jed Esty. A Shrinking Island: Modernism and National Culture in England (selections).

Patricia Ondek Laurence. Lily Briscoe's Chinese Eyes: Bloomsbury, Modernism, and China (selections).

Melba Cuddy-Keane. Virginia Woolf: The Intellectual and the Public Sphere (selections).

Jane Marcus. Hearts of Darkness: White Women Write Race (selections).

John Marx. The Modernist Novel and the Decline of Empire (selections).

Raymond Williams. Politics of Modernism and Culture and Materialism (selections).


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