Anita Desai
Conversations in Bloomsbury by Mulk Raj Anand Arnold-Heinemann, 1982, 159 pp., 50
July-August 1982, volume 7, No 1

I heard someone at a party remark of this book, ‘It is superb as long as Mulk keeps himself out of it.’ On reading it, I find I don’t agree at all: Dr. Anand has nothing to add to, and no fresh insights to bring to our considerable knowledge of the Bloomsbury Group, gleaned from their voluminous diaries, journals, letters and biographies; there is probably no other period in the history of English litera-ture so thoroughly documented or so well served by its biogra¬phers and editors. Michael Holroyd’s biography of Lytton Strachey was a literary land¬mark, and the editing of Virgi¬nia Woolf’s diaries and letters by Nigel Nicolson and Anne Olivier Bell and the biography by Quentin Bell are nothing short of superb. Dr. Anand never had more than a slight acquaintanceship with the people whose conversations he records, having met them cas¬ually and infrequently in and around the British Museum, that geographical territory that gave its name to one entire period and style in English letters. Also, the fact that these conversations took place fifty years ago, in an age when the tape-recorder did not exist, makes one doubt. their veracity.

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