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Contradictory Woolf$
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Derek Ryan and Stella Bolaki

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780983533955

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780983533955.001.0001

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“But somebody you wouldn’t forget in a hurry”

“But somebody you wouldn’t forget in a hurry”

Bloomsbury and the Contradictions of African Art

(p.66) “But somebody you wouldn’t forget in a hurry”
Contradictory Woolf

Lois J. Gilmore

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines contradictions in Virginia Woolf's relationship to art and auto/biography within the context of Bloomsbury. It discusses Bloomsbury's relationship to the African art that was introduced in England by that “contradictory and catalytic figure” Roger Fry, and that was “by nature contradictory when decontextualized and viewed from within Western culture.” Focusing in particular on the responses of Woolf, Fry, and Clive Bell to the 1920 exhibition of African objects at the Chelsea Book Club, the chapter highlights “the nuanced contradictions about African material culture” circulating in Bloomsbury. It suggests that the responses of Bloomsbury members to African objects reflect the argument of ambiguity and ambivalence.

Keywords:   contradiction, auto/biography, Bloomsbury, African art, England, Roger Fry, Clive Bell, exhibition, material culture

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