. . . 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, as “unfashionable.” In fact...