Roy Campbell, the Bloomsbury Group, and C.S. Lewis
- I've been reading Virginia Woolf's "A writer's diary", and got curious about
why it never mentioned Roy Campbell, who had at one point been associated
with the Bloomsbury group, and so got out Joseph Pearce's biography of Roy
Campbell to refresh my memory, and found I had almost completely forgotten
the tangled web of relationships -- that Roy Campbell's wife Mary was in love
with Vita Nicholson (nee Sackville-West) and that the Campbells had gone to
live in a cottage on the Sackville-West estate.
But Virginia Woolf was also in love with Vita, and had written her "Orlando"
in a fit of jealousy over Vita's relationship with Mary Campbell. None of
that comes out in the (edited) version of the diary. And when he found out
about the affair, on 6 November 1927, Roy Campbell went off by train to
London, to drown his sorrows in drink. He met C.S. Lewis in a pub, and
drinking with him, told him all about it (Pearce 2001:90), and when Lewis
remarked "Fancy being cuckolded by a woman" Campbell rushed back to Kent in a
rage, and thereafter came to despise the Bloomsbury group, and drew closer to
Evelyn Waugh and D.B. Wyndham Lewis, and told Lytton Strachey, who advocated
detachment, "Strachey, you are about as detached, morally, physically and
intellectually as the animal you most resemble". "What is that?" asked
Strachey. "A tapeworm," replied Campbell (Pearce 2001:95).