A War of Individuals: Bloomsbury Attitudes to the Great War by Jonathan Atkin

By Jonathan Atkin

This ebook attracts jointly for the first actual time examples of the ''aesthetic pacifism'' practiced throughout the nice battle by means of such celebrated contributors as Virginia Woolf, Siegfried Sassoon, and Bertrand Russell. moreover, the publication outlines the tales of these much less recognized who shared the frame of mind of the Bloomsbury workforce and people round them while it got here to dealing with the 1st ''total war.''

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Extra info for A War of Individuals: Bloomsbury Attitudes to the Great War

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However, when Duncan Grant was later deported as a ‘pacifist anarchist’59 while merely attempting to design costumes and scenery for a production of the opera Pelleas et Melisande in Paris, Garnett found that his enthusiasm had waned dramatically, writing to Strachey that: The whole business has shattered my vitality … Really it is awful being anywhere nowadays. I cannot earn a living anywhere without killing or being killed. 60 Garnett later recalled that, from the commencement of hostilities, ‘I had had thoughts of enlisting – not from patriotic motives, but because I felt that the war was a great human experience which I ought not to miss’,61 and his work for the Mission was his method of fulfilling this common linking motivation – the need for experience.

M. Forster chose humanitarian work abroad as a noncombatant and yet sought permission to have his case heard by a tribunal back in England. He had gone to Alexandria at the end of October 1915 as a Red Cross ‘searcher’, attempting to obtain information on missing soldiers from the wounded in hospitals. The following year, the Red Cross decided to release its able-bodied men for active service. Forster was told to undergo a medical on the understanding that he would ‘attest’ if passed fit for active duty.

This war which saps away one’s spirit’,80 and he was perturbed by the prospect of ‘organisation and dehumanisation’ enveloping all streams of life. 81 By this time, however, he had come into a belief that, as defined to Siegfried Sassoon, due to Forster’s own anti-war sentiments, ‘one’s at war with the world’, and he was involved in a form of ‘defensive warfare’ on a personal level which had come to mean ‘Violent individualism. 82 Forster’s ‘inmost recesses’ had been invaded by ‘the cosmology of strife’, and he had been altered by the experience.

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