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Bloomsbury Pie: The Making of the Bloomsbury Boom Hardcover – October, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Not so many years ago Virginia Woolf and other members of the Bloomsbury group were barely known to the common reader. But the publication of Quentin Bell's 1972 biography of Woolf stirred a popular and academic interest in these writers that has only grown over time. From academic journals to popular biographies, from photo books to popular art films, Bloomsbury has become big business. Regina Marler treats the Bloomsbury craze with respect and a sense of humor as she charts the growth of the industry and keeps her eye on who is making the profits. Thoroughly researched, filled with great gossip, and fueled by a love of literature Bloomsbury Pie is contemporary scholarship at its best.

From Library Journal

Attracted by their pacifism, unconventional behavior, and sexual liberty, the 1960s saw a dramatic rise in interest in the Bloomsbury group, the collection of writers and artists that included Virginia Woolf, Clive Bell, Lytton Strachey, E.M. Forster, and John Maynard Keynes, among others. This popularity has only increased, becoming a mass-market phenomenon that ranges from literary biographies to art production and memorabilia collecting and even to movies such as the recent Carrington (1995). In this delightful and witty book, Marler, who edited the Selected Letters of Vanessa Bell (Pantheon, 1993) and writes and lives in San Francisco, traces the social history of this interest in Bloomsbury, considering both its enthusiasts and its detractors. The result is a work of entertaining scholarship worthy of its subjects. For public and academic libraries where Bloomsbury interest is strong.?Thomas L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah, Ga.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Co; 1 edition (October 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805044167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805044164
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,324,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This superb book sparkles with both scholarship and wit. Much like Thomas Kuhn did in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions," Ms. Marler describes the external determinants of acceptance and repute. Ms. Marler traces the beginnings of the circle of writers, painters, designers, and other intellectuals (including John Maynard Keynes, Vanessa Bell, Lytton Strachey, E.M. Forster, and Roger Fry) known as Bloomsbury and, especially, its most famous literary member, Virginia Woolf. Bloomsbury and Woolf go in and out of fashion, sometimes together, sometimes separately, as various critical camps interpret the "real" meaning of her work.
Passing through a decades-long literary gauntlet, Virginia Woolf's works are rudely characterized and discarded, rediscovered and reinterpreted, revived and revered (although some form of backlash seems never far away). Marler traces how Woolf's writing is subjugated to various forms of literary criticism and theory: Structuralism, post-structuralism, feminism, new criticism, psycho-biography, and, one is tempted to say, pseudobiography. In fact, after reading "Bloomsbury Pie" the reader may ponder what biography can realistically achieve. Marler also brings fresh insight into how familiarity may color a critic's evaluation of a subject, and how familial and proprietary considerations may clash with needs of scholars and sellers.
While the author refers to Woolf's genius, the book's primary purpose is not to critique Woolf's literature or place in history, but rather to trace how literary history is forged within social, cultural, and financial contexts. It is to the author's enormous credit that she applies the same high rigorous standards to all Woolfian critics.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 7, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Regina Marler's admiration for and knowledge of Virginia Woolf's work inform this text.
With respect to the reader from Brown University, to disagree with Jane Marcus is NOT to disparage Virginia Woolf.
One of my favorite sentences (of many in the book) is on page 127--"Trying to out-write Virginia Woolf must feel like trying to outwit Oscar Wilde." If this is an example of an author who wants to (and I quote the Brown University reader) "dismiss the great achievements of Bloomsbury leader, Virginia Woolf," then I have happily misunderstood Ms. Marler and joyously misread BLOOMSBURY PIE.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
...Or at least a 3-book contract. She's pulled off the miracle of lucid scholarly assessment that entertains as it enlightens. And she's freed a bound subject from its constraints. The prose is beautiful--stinging--and X-Acto knife sharp. The book itself is also beautiful--a slim little curio book made to fit the hand. Marler's clarity and balance will no doubt alienate readers with agendas--but with any luck she'll offend all such readers (who need most to be offended); to this purpose she serves humanity and literature. Her perspective is welcome and her wit to be savored.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Your remarks about white males and radical feminism made me doublecheck the isbn on my copy. And I'm still not sure we read the same book. Bloomsbury Pie is easily the most engaging, down-to-earth study of the subject I've ever seen. Not only pro-feminist and thoroughly thoughtful, Marler's writing is full of wit and fun, which no doubt upsets readers who prefer their feminism-- and not their humor--very dry.
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