The Romantic Moderns : English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper, Hardback Book

The Romantic Moderns : English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper Hardback

3 out of 5 (3 ratings)


In this new and engaging study Alex Harris presents a confident case for the interest and importance of the English arts during the modern period.

During the 1930s and 1940s, a rich network of cultural and personal encounters was the backdrop for a modern English renaissance, with English artists exploring what it meant to be alive at that moment and in England.

Harris examines the work of writers, painters, gardeners, architects, critics and composers, some well known and some almost forgotten: John Betjeman, Florence White, Evelyn Waugh, Elizabeth Bowen, the Sitwells, John Piper, Cecil Beaton, and more.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320 pages, 79 illustrations, 48 in colour
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General arts
  • ISBN: 9780500251713

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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Excellent overview of the evolution of Modernism in 30s and 40s England, focusing primariliy on the visual arts and literature, but also on other manifestations such as gardening or cookery writing (some of the strongest chapters). Harris is successful at establishing connections between various and sometimes divergent artists. The chapters on literature are also very good, particularly her study of the country house theme in Du Maurier, Bowen, Green and Waugh. The edition is excellent as well, it is printed on quality creamy coloured paper and fully illustrated.

Review by

Beautifully designed book which is also very readable considering the erudite nature of the content. I like the interdisciplinary aspect and found it stimulating and broadening as I knew more about the art and architecture than the literature for example. Has made me want to read Elizabeth Bowen and go back to Virginia Woolf. The excellent bibliography also gives lots of sources for further reading. I look forward to reading her other book (as joint editor) on the seaside.

Review by

A beautifully produced book which is a physical joy to behold and read - lovely paper, well produced colour illustrations and a stunning example of why a Kindle will never replace a book! However, I found the content disappointing - the book was constructed in a scattershot way and it was as if Harris was trying to fit the facts to her theories. I don't think that her hypothesis holds water and it's a shame that in many ways the books doesn't really draw any conclusions.

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