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Queer Bloomsbury$
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Brenda S. Helt and Madelyn Detloff

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474401692

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474401692.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 15 June 2021

Camp Sites: Forster and the Biographies of Queer Bloomsbury

Camp Sites: Forster and the Biographies of Queer Bloomsbury

(p.64) Camp Sites: Forster and the Biographies of Queer Bloomsbury
Queer Bloomsbury

George Piggford

Edinburgh University Press

Members of the Bloomsbury Group wrote biographical texts influenced by the camp style of Lytton Strachey in Eminent Victorians and Queen Victoria. The most noticeable effect of this style is the subversion of Victorian biographical conventions. Stracheyesque qualities can be found in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and Flush, John Maynard Keynes’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Clive Bell’s Old Friends, and E.M. Forster’s early nonfiction sketches and his biographies of Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson and Marianne Thornton. Especially in their biographical writings these figures felt free to emphasize exaggeration, even silliness, in contrast to the psychological realism prevalent in their own and others’ fictional literary experiments. The Stracheyesque note in Bloomsbury biography provides a common quality and arguably queers readers’ expectations of modernist literary practices. As with the pervasive irregularity of their sexual practices, such textual play might be understood as liberatory and subversive.

Keywords:   Bloomsbury Group, camp, Lytton Strachey, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, queer biography, literary experimentation, queer literature, modernist biography, George Piggford

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