Publication Details

Collett, A. A. (2013). Imag(in)ing the Pacific: modernist women artists. Pacific and American Studies, 13 (March), 49-62.


It was all very risque and, indeed quite shocking. Vanessa Stephen would marry Clive Bell, and make her name as an English modernist painter and designer; Virginia, would marry Leonard Woolf, and make her name at the vanguard of experimental English modernist literature. Virginia would be the more famous, or possibly, infamous, of the sisters, being the mover and shaker of the Bloomsbury Group - a nucleus of primarily male, primarily Oxbridge-educated intellectuals who began meeting regularly at the house of the sisters in Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London, in the first decade of the 20th century. Here they discussed all things intellectual: nothing, recalled Virginia, absolutely nothing was banned as a subject of conversation - everything was 'up for grabs.' 3) It was indeed a very freeing moment that marked the shift from Victorian to Modem relationships between the sexes, a corresponding freedom of sexual relationship, of intellectual and professional possibility for women, and a freeing up of the rigid constraints of Victorian morality that had understood literature and art to be the vehicles of a patriarchal Christian morality.