Woolf manuscripts to shed light on Bloomsbury group

Sunday, April 6, 2003

— The British Library has bought an unpublished series of mock newspaper articles handwritten by author Virginia Woolf and discovered in an old tin trunk.

The seven autographed manuscripts are among the library's purchase of 188 editions of a newspaper called The Charleston Bulletin that was compiled by Woolf's nephews, Julian and Quentin Bell, as children.

Christopher Wright, the library's head of manuscripts, said Friday that the works would provide an insight into the influential Bloomsbury group of writers, artists and philosophers.

The Bloomsbury group, named after the area of London where its members initially met for drinks and talk, flourished from 1904 until World War II. Devotees were committed to a rejection of the artistic, social and sexual strictures of the day.

The Charleston Bulletin chronicles life at Charleston House in Sussex, the country refuge of the Bloomsbury group, whose members included Woolf, E.M. Forster, Vita Sackville-West and John Maynard Keynes.

The reports, mostly through the eyes of the boys, provide an adolescent's view of the adults. Woolf's contributions show her taking the children's side and casting a wicked eye over the peccadilloes of the household's adult population.