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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Bloomsbury and Its Surroundings

Instructor(s): Tom Lewis, English

Bloomsbury, where the IES Center is located, has long been considered the heart of London’s and England’s cultural life. It has been the home of the British Museum since the late eighteenth century; numerous museums and educational institutions like University College London, followed in the nineteenth. It was in Bloomsbury that George Frederic Handel (Georg Friedrich Hӓndel) introduced his “Messiah” to London. The area has attracted writers like Charles Dickens and William Thackeray, Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster; artists like William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, Vanessa Bell, and Duncan Grant; and numerous social reformers, economic theorists, and political activists. They came in part because the enlightened urban planners had created green residential squares like Tavistock, Gordon, Bedford, and Russell in the midst of the crowded city. This seminar will introduce students to the intellectual ferment that surrounds them.

Through the study of Bloomsbury, students will gain a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives on the area and its place in London and England’s cultural life, especially its role in English and European history, art history, literature, music and urban development.

Course Offered