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Crawling up the Walls: Kafka’s Domestic Space

Rory Hutchings, Independent

1 May 2020

In Modernism and the Architecture of Private Life (2005), Victoria Rosner asks: ‘is there an argument to be made for dirty living?’[1] Rather than literally advocating dirtiness, Rosner invites us to consider what dirty spaces, chiefly domestic, might signify and reveal. Drawing on the memoirs of Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey, Rosner observes dirt as ‘a symbol for household matter considered unspeakable, unseeable, and unwritable […] includ[ing] bodily secretions, socially inappropriate emotions, and sexual transgressions.’[2] Continue reading “Crawling up the Walls: Kafka’s Domestic Space”

Interiors of (Un)use

Meindert Peters, New College, Oxford

How is your interior treating you? Is it helping you in your tasks, or being a tad recalcitrant? Is everything just where you would like it – however messy you might like it – or is everything asking for attention, standing in your way? Right now, we are all more or less stuck at a home amongst stuff. Whether you just Marie Kondo’d your apartment or are a hoarder; whether the cleaner still comes twice a week, or your kitchen bears the traces of what you ate last week: stuff is there. If you are lucky, the stuff is yours, familiar, and comforting; if you are unlucky you live with someone else’s stuff, design choices, or lack thereof. Continue reading “Interiors of (Un)use”

Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell: Domesticity and Modernity

Chloe Jamieson, Royal Academy of Arts

1 May 2020

As core members of the Bloomsbury Group, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell represented part of the artistic sector of this lively intellectual collective. They blended the developing movement of English Modernism with a traditional subject: the home. No place represented this more than their own, Charleston Farmhouse. Purchased in 1916 at the height of the Great War, the seventeenth-century farmhouse which is located near Lewes, East Sussex, became a country idyll for the Bloomsbury circle, particularly for its owners Grant and Bell, who sought to put their artistic mark on the interior spaces. Continue reading “Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell: Domesticity and Modernity”

The Politics of a Permeable Home

Claire Pelly, King’s College London

Alongside the frustrations of sudden isolation at home since the lockdown have been the joys derived from others’ generosity. An example of this is the new YouTube channel ‘A Bit Lit’, on which academics are broadcasting a wide range of conversations and lectures related to literature and history, often with an early modern focus. These lectures have offered food for thought in two directions: helping me plan for the secondary students I teach as well as feeding into my own research on Sylvia Townsend Warner. Continue reading “The Politics of a Permeable Home”

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