Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper

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Thames & Hudson, Limited, 2010 - Art - 320 pages
10 Reviews
In the 1930s and 1940s, while the battles for modern art and modernsociety were being fought in Paris and Spain, it seemed to some abetrayal that John Betjeman and John Piper were in love with a provincialworld of old churches and tea shops.

Alexandra Harris tells a different story: eclectically, passionately,wittily, urgently, English artists were exploring what it meant to bealive at that moment and in England. They showed that “the modern”need not be at war with the past: constructivists and conservativescould work together, and even the Bauhaus émigré László Moholy-Nagywas beguiled into taking photos for Betjeman’s nostalgic An OxfordUniversity Chest.

A rich network of personal and cultural encounters was the backdropfor a modern English renaissance. This great imaginative projectwas shared by writers, painters, gardeners, architects, critics, andcomposers. Piper abandoned purist abstracts to make collages on theblustery coast; Virginia Woolf wrote in her last novel about a villagepageant on a showery summer day. Evelyn Waugh, Elizabeth Bowen,and the Sitwells are also part of the story, along with Bill Brandt andGraham Sutherland, Eric Ravilious and Cecil Beaton.

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Review: Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper

User Review  - Tim Pendry - Goodreads

The 1930s and early 1940s were a critical period in the formation of British culture. The Second World War was to mark a decisive turning point, one that created a self-image for many Britons that ... Read full review

Review: Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper

User Review  - Julie - Goodreads

aagh. tiny font wrecked my weak eyes and dry academic style wrecked my weak brain. Read full review

About the author (2010)

Alexandra Harris is Lecturer in English, University of Liverpool, and the coeditor with Lara Feigel of Modernism on Sea .

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