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Lily Briscoe's Chinese Eyes
Bloomsbury, Modernism, and China

Patricia Laurence

A map of the mutual influence of Bloomsbury, the Crescent Moon Society, and modernism in English and Chinese culture

Lily Briscoe's Chinese Eyes traces the romance between Julian Bell, nephew of Virginia Woolf,
and Ling Shuhua, a writer and painter Bell met while teaching at Wuhan University in China in 1935. Relying on a wide selection of previously unpublished writings, Patricia Laurence places Ling, often referred to as the Chinese Katherine Mansfield, squarely in the Bloomsbury constellation. In doing so, she counters East-West polarities and suggests forms of understanding to inaugurate a new kind of cultural criticism and literary description.

Laurence expands her examination of Bell and Ling's relationship into a study of parallel literary
communities—Bloomsbury in England and the Crescent Moon group in China. Underscoring their reciprocal influences in the early part of the twentieth century, Laurence presents conversations among well-known British and Chinese writers, artists, and historians, including Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, G. L. Dickinson, Xu Zhimo, E. M. Forster, and Xiao Qian. In addition, Laurence's study includes rarely seen photographs of Julian Bell, Ling, and their associates as well as a reproduction of Ling's scroll commemorating moments in the exchange between Bloomsbury and the Crescent Moon group.

Patricia Laurence teaches in the City University of New York (presently at Brooklyn College), and also taught at Vassar College and Columbia University. She is the author of The Reading of Silence: Virginia Woolf in the English Tradition.

"Lily Briscoe's Chinese Eyes is delightfully and eminently readable, and should be of interest not only to those who study Woolf and British modernism, but to anyone interested in thinking seriously about the direction in which a more inclusive literary scholarship might, or should, be moving."—Woolf Studies Annual

"With her freshly global approach to the study of modernism Laurence's book fills an important gap by demonstrating the hybrid roots of British and Chinese modernism. It is, no doubt, a worthy reference for those interested in Woolf, Bloomsbury and the modernism's relation to China."—Modernism/Modernity


Lily Briscoe’s Chinese Eyes


6 x 9
520 pages
106 illus.
ISBN 978-1-61117-148-8
paperback, $24.95s

ISBN 978-1-57003-505-0
hardcover, $59.95

eISBN 978-1-61117-176-1
ebook, $23.99t

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