…in England, essayist Lytton Strachey, 34, writes to his cousin and former lover, painter Duncan Grant, about to turn 29,
Are you waiting for Clive’s Art to come out to know what to think on that and every other subject?
Art, by critic Clive Bell, 32, one of Lytton’s Cambridge friends, is a tiny little book for such a big title. Using many of the ideas proposed earlier by his other Bloomsbury friend, Roger Fry, 47, Bell first puts forth the idea of “significant form.”
The year before, publisher Chatto and Windus had approached Fry to write such a book, but he was much too busy with his project, the Omega Workshops, founded with painter Vanessa Bell, 34, Clive’s wife and then Roger’s mistress, and Duncan.
Over 40 years ago, in Dr. Owen Herring’s Aesthetics class at Lycoming College [http://www.lycoming.edu/] in Pennsylvania, I came across Art when I was “the little girl with the glasses who studies in the library all the time.” Curled up in a comfy chair, right at the top of the library stairs, I remember thinking, “What a twit. He writes a tiny little book called Art! How pretentious.” Years later, when I did my Ph. D. research on early 20th century writers’ salons, and finally found out more about Clive Bell and the rest of his “Such Friends,” I discovered that I was right. He was a pretentious little twit.