This semester current study abroad psychology student, Alexandra Talarico, ventured to Great Britain for Bloomsbury Britain: Art, Craft, Culture, an Academic Travel course taught by Associate Professor of Literature and Creative Writing, Alexandra Peat, focusing on the literature and history behind members of the Bloomsbury Group.
“I was very lucky to have the travel class that I did, as I got to learn about the network of writers, artists, and intellectuals, including Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, John Maynard Keynes, and Roger Fry, who gathered in the squares of the Bloomsbury area of London during the first decades of the twentieth century. It was great to visit the places that inspired them.”
Alexandra was surprised to find out how quickly she become part of the Franklin community. “As a one-semester study abroad student, I had never anticipated becoming so involved in the Franklin life, and Academic Travel was one of my many experiences where I had the opportunity to learn more about places I’ve never been to and people I don’t usually meet. It was great to be able to hear so many different perspectives and opinions on what we saw and did together. Everyone participated and genuinely enjoyed themselves.”
She particularly loved visiting the Sussex Archives because “reading over the old documents was like being able to glimpse into the life of the past. One set of documents were referred to as mass observations, in which average people in the early/mid-20th century would record the events of their day from the moment they woke to the moment they went to sleep, or they would write about what they observed around them. It was surreal reading about these little, ordinary moments in these people’s lives, seeing the way people wrote years ago and how it differs from today, and even being able to read handwritten love letters between Virginia and Leonard Woolf.”
Alexandra was also impressed by one of the typesetting workshop, where the FUS class got to work together and print a section of text from one of Virginia Woolf’s essays, “Street Haunting”. “It taught us the extreme patience and care that early typesetters and printers required in order to print even one book or a single page of one book. There are so many steps that need a lot of precision, such as placing the tiny letters and spacing out words correctly. It was a long afternoon but an incredibly fun one.”
Check out more stories recapping Franklin travels this semester on our Adventures At Franklin blog.