[Vwoolf] Bloomsbury, Roger Casement, and Biofiction

Avery, Todd Todd_Avery at uml.edu
Fri Jul 7 07:50:20 EDT 2017

Hi, Friends,

To follow Michael: that essay is indeed waiting, asking, to be written.  And if anyone's got a month of writing time free beginning, say, now, then we have just the place for an initial, brief foray into this arena: the upcoming Virginia Woolf Miscellany issue on "Woolf and Biofiction."  If you are interested, please let either Michael or me know.

Best wishes,


Dr. Todd Avery
Associate Professor of English
Coordinator, Online English B.A. Program
NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative
University of Massachusetts Lowell
O'Leary Library 481
61 Wilder Street
Lowell, MA 01854
From: Vwoolf <vwoolf-bounces+todd_avery=uml.edu at lists.osu.edu> on behalf of Michael Lackey <lacke010 at morris.umn.edu>
Sent: Thursday, July 6, 2017 5:05:59 PM
To: vwoolf at lists.osu.edu
Subject: [Vwoolf] Bloomsbury, Roger Casement, and Biofiction

Sabina Murray has recently published a brilliant biographical novel (Valiant Gentlemen) about Roger Casement, who was executed for his involvement in the 1916 Easter Rebellion. Casement was a great humanitarian--he did much to expose horrors and injustices in Africa and South America, and for his great work, he was knighted.  To turn the adoring public against Casement, the British, who discovered that he was homosexual, used his sexual orientation to demonize him.  To be expected, some high-profile people supported Casement, including Bloomsbury members Lytton Strachey and Duncan Grant.  Here is what Murray writes in her novel: Casement's "lawyer had listed a few writers and artists who supported him, Lytton Strachey, Duncan Grant, others of that circle, and made the wry observation that they were freaks and weirdos, but at least they were on his side."

There have now been two important biographical novels about Casement (Murray's and Mario Vargas Llosa's The Dream of the Celt).  Put simply, Casement's reputation is finally being fully restored, and it is worth noting that Bloomsbury members were on the right side of history about one hundred years before the rest of the culture.

An essay about Bloomsbury through its response to Casement is waiting to be written, and the contemporary biofiction about Casement would enable someone to make that case.

All Best,

Michael Lackey
Distinguished McKnight University Professor
University of Minnesota, Morris
104 Humanities Building
600 East 4th Street
Morris, MN 56267-2132
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