By Jonathan Atkin
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Extra info for A War of Individuals: Bloomsbury Attitudes to the Great War
This Bill, in addition to raising the age of conscription to cover those in the category of forty-one to fifty years (prompting her to fear whether Fry might be affected) also, she noted with alarm, proposed to give the authorities new powers to call up previously exempted men working on the land. e. the German offensive] that seems rather a forlorn hope’. 99 The physical self-removal from the war of Vanessa Bell was echoed to a certain extent in mental terms by her sister Virginia. Right at the start of the conflict, during the first hours of war, Virginia Woolf had merely noted the extra trains being run to and from the coast to transport people fleeing the Continent to London and beyond.
45 The following month, perhaps realising that the war had discovered him even at his present rural location, Strachey moved back to London, which was scarcely an improvement. He described the capital thus: The fog has descended in force and the shadow of Death reigns … very nearly all the lights were out, which combined with the fog, produced complete darkness. p65 26 03/07/02, 12:33 Bloomsbury 27 contrary. 46 After a ‘dreary’ Christmas spent at Lady Ottoline’s often freezing Garsington Manor, the introduction of the Conscription Bill after months of speculation served to lift Strachey out of his malaise, and January 1916 found him energised, exclaiming to his brother James, ‘isn’t it still possible that something should be done?
101 Woolf was unimpressed by organised peace movements and found no inspiration at a Fabian meeting on ‘The Conditions of Peace’ at the end of January 1915, describing those attending as appearing ‘singular and impotent’. Her insular reaction was given full reign by the onset of her mental breakdown in the spring of 1915 from which she did not recover until the end of that year. Virginia suffered from recurring mental difficulties all her life, though at this particular time she was perhaps more prone to attack due to possible tension between her inner, creative life and the outside war-life of the nation and her friends.