Praising and Burying Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is an elusive term, difficult to define, complex in character, burdened with decades of misinterpretation. It is discussed at the highest academic levels and used as an emotive catch-phrase in the most superficial journalism. The history of its critical fortunes moves through distrust and suspicion, to adulation and hatred. But the term is nearly always used inaccurately or with a looseness that denies it any effective meaning. I was forced to think anew about my definition when I was asked to curate 'The Art of Bloomsbury' – a major exhibition at London's Tate Gallery this autumn.

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