• LOCATION 7 | 'Such Friends': Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group

    Everything changed

    For my research, I had to pinpoint the time when each group started and ended. For Bloomsbury, I consider the beginning to be the day that Vanessa and Clive Bell married, in the spring of 1907. That's also when Virginia and her brother, Adrian, moved to Fitzroy Square.

    The Bells still held salons on Thursday evenings at number 46 Gordon Square, but now, after dinner, the party would often move to Virginia and Adrian’s living room, probably walking the same route that we are on right now.

    They were young, creative people, and they were enjoying their new found freedoms. Later, Virginia wrote that the whole world changed in one moment in Gordon Square in 1908.

    She said, “It was a spring evening. Vanessa and I were sitting in the drawing room...Suddenly the door opened and the long and sinister figure of Mr. Strachey stood on the threshold. He pointed his finger at a stain on Vanessa’s white dress. ‘Semen?’ he said. 'Can one really say it?' I thought and we burst out laughing. With that one word all barriers of reticence and reserve went down. A flood of the sacred fluid seemed to overwhelm us. Sex permeated our conversation. The word bugger was never far from our lips. We discussed copulation with the same excitement and openness that we had discussed the nature of good. It is strange to think how reticent, how reserved we had been and for how long.”

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'Such Friends': Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group