The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

March 1, 2014

March 1, 1880

Lytton Strachey was an integral part of the Bloomsbury that helped define modernism in English literature. According to one resource Yale maintains online, Strachey

.... from 1899 to 1905 ... attended Trinity College at Cambridge, where he met future Bloomsburians Clive Bell, E.M. Forster, Thoby Stephen, and Leonard Woolf. In 1902, he was elected to the Apostles, the secret Cambridge Conversazione Society through which he met G.E. Moore and Bertrand Russell. With Moore’s emphasis on aesthetic experience and personal relations as intellectual support, Strachey promoted the homosexuality that thrived among the Apostles as part of a subversive personal creed....
In the five years after leaving Cambridge, Strachey lived with his family, ....It was in this period that he grew close to Virginia Stephen (later Virginia Woolf) and her sister Vanessa, proving a valuable support for the family after the death of their brother Thoby. In 1908, Strachey even proposed to Virginia, who would later portray him as St. John Hirst in
The Voyage Out (1915). ...
[first world] war was an important influence on Eminent Victorians (1918), the work for which Strachey is best known. The book presents brief life histories of four Victorian icons: Cardinal Manning, Florence Nightingale, Dr. Thomas Arnold, and General Gordon. Strachey had been impressed by the “strange power of ridicule” that he found in the prose of Dostoevesky, and in Eminent Victorians his tone is mischievously satirical as he exposes the generational hypocrisies that he felt had led to the war.

Lytton Strachey (March 1, 1880 to January 21 1932) later lived in a country cottage 
with few amenities, near Hungerford, Berkshire. He lived there with two devoted friends, Dora Carrington and Ralph Partridge. According to a recent biography, his daily routine might include reading aloud, sometimes from his own manuscripts, or favorite books, in the evening. The three friends would be seated around a fire, a circle which included Tiber the cat. 

Such is the Victorian picture Holroyd conveys in Lytton Strachey: The New Biography (2005). There may not be a modern, cyber, equivalent now to such a cozy gathering of friends. 

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