. . . it was exciting, exhilarating, the beginning of a renaissance, the opening of a new heaven on a new earth, we were the forerunners of a new dispensation….
—John Maynard Keynes, in “My Early Beliefs” (1938)
Bloomsbury, like Clapham, was a coterie. It was exclusive and clannish. It regarded outsiders as unconverted . . . . Remarks which did not show that grace had descended upon the utterer were met with killing silence . . . . Like Clapham, Bloomsbury had discovered a new creed: the same exhilaration filled the air, the same conviction that a new truth had been disclosed, a new Kingdom conquered.
—Noel Annan, in Leslie Stephen (1952)
It is startling now to be reminded that as recently as 1968—a year that saw a great many changes in our cultural life—Bloomsbury could still be described, without fear of contradiction,...