Clive Bell and the Making of Modernism

Clive Bell and the Making of Modernism : A Biography

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'Amusing, charming, stimulating, urbane' - THE TIMES

'Revelatory' - GUARDIAN

'Restores Clive Bell vividly to life' - Lucasta Miller

Clive Bell is perhaps better known today for being a Bloomsbury socialite and the husband of artist Vanessa Bell, sister to Virginia Woolf. Yet Bell was a highly important figure in his own right: an internationally renowned art critic who defended daring new forms of expression at a time when Britain was closed off to all things foreign. His groundbreaking book Art brazenly subverted the narratives of art history and cemented his status as the great interpreter of modern art. Bell was also an ardent pacifist and a touchstone for the Wildean values of individual freedoms, and his is a story that leads us into an extraordinary world of intertwined lives, loves and sexualities.

For decades Bell has been an obscure figure, refracted through the wealth of writing on Bloomsbury, but here Mark Hussey brings Bell to the fore, drawing on personal letters, archives and Bell's own extensive writing. Complete with a cast of famous characters, including Lytton Strachey, T. S. Eliot, Katherine Mansfield, Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau, Clive Bell and the Making of Modernism is a fascinating portrait of a man who became one of the pioneering voices in art of his era.

Reclaiming Bell's stature among the makers of modernism, Hussey has given us a biography to muse and marvel over - a snapshot of a time and of a man who revelled in and encouraged the shock of the new.

'A book of real substance written with style and panache, copious fresh information and many insights.' - Julian Bell
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Product details

  • Paperback | 592 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 40mm | 468g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1408894416
  • 9781408894415
  • 54,844

Review quote

A book of real substance written with style and panache, copious fresh information and many insights. Throughout, one senses that a strong mind is in control of the material - the whole literary performance is persuasive and confidence-inducing -- Julian Bell This sympathetic and painstakingly researched portrait restores Clive Bell vividly to life, both as a man and as a cultural figure whose art criticism influenced a generation -- Lucasta Miller Amusing, charming, stimulating, urbane -- Laura Freeman * The Times * Offers a missing piece in the familiar Bloomsbury jigsaw ... Mark Hussey ... moves around the complex history of the Bloomsbury Group with near-faultless command. He is also a suave and sophisticated historian, able to link Bell's life very effectively with the historical moment -- Frances Spalding * Literary Review * [A] meticulously researched and well-informed account ... Revelatory ... Hussey's patient recuperative work is important in reminding us that the significant players in last century's art history often refuse to fit our sentimental requirements -- Kathryn Hughes * Guardian * This spirited, urbane figure emerges engagingly from the shadow of his more famous contemporaries in this first definitive biography * Town & Country, Book of the Week * With this entertaining and nuanced biography, Hussey has filled in a valuable piece of the Bloomsbury jigsaw, providing rich new insight into a major player in the story of 20th-century art -- Francesca Wade * Apollo * Hussey gives us a ... nuanced, complex portrait of Clive Bell, celebrating his accomplishments without obscuring the less appealing aspects of his character ... Perceptive ... [A] remarkable book ... There could not be a more fitting tribute to Clive Bell and his life's work * Literature Cambridge *
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About Professor Mark Hussey

Mark Hussey is Distinguished Professor of English at Pace University in New York City. Born in London, after completing a PhD at Nottingham, he moved to the US in 1982 and worked at the Association of American Publishers and the Sander Gallery in Soho. Mark is best known for his decades of work on the Bloomsbury Group and Virginia Woolf: he is the General Editor for Harcourt's annotated editions of her works and editorial board member of the Cambridge Edition of Woolf.
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