An exploration of the second generation of the iconic Bloomsbury Group who inspired their elders to new heights of creativity and passion while also pushing the boundaries of sexual freedom and gender norms in 1920s England.
Colorful ... The interactions among these writers, artists, scholars and sensual adventurers made for a cauldron of contradictions — loving and heartbreaking, productive and chaotic, gossipy and protective, open-minded and cliquish. The group was astonishingly inventive and fiercely devoted to intellect, beauty and fun ... Nino Strachey puts Bloomsbury’s orgiastic side in useful context ... It is in such concisely explained, well-researched details that Young Bloomsbury flourishes. Its cinematic specifics and pace make the reader feel the bravery and solidarity among these nonconformists ... Young Bloomsbury wears its political and personal intentions proudly ... [A] lively account.
Ms. Strachey underpins her narrative with concerns from her own time, writing in her introduction that, 'as the mother of a child who identifies as gender-fluid and queer,' she feels especially attuned to the discrimination and suppression endured by those members of Young Bloomsbury whose sexuality was nontraditional, and commends them for their courage ... These sections are the most affecting parts of the book ... While useful as a catalog of satellite figures for Bloomsbury completists, Young Bloomsbury does not make its case that any of these personalities 'redefined' self-expression in the 1920s, as the book’s subtitle claims. Their charisma died when they did, as is charisma’s way.
Brisk, light ... Strachey provides frothy accounts of their gatherings at the Gargoyle ... Perhaps Strachey overstates how separate the generations were: the original Bloomsburies seem to have gone to the same parties as the new set, and the book is less convincing as an account of its characters as creators of lasting work ... Lisa Cohen’s fine triple biography All We Know...offers more substantial insight into this world.