Our trip began with a visit to a short story festival, during which we listened to a talk about ‘The Refugee Tales’ which is a series of short stories, each telling the tale of a different refugee who has been detained in England. This talk was enlightening not only in allowing us gain contextual understanding of Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’ (a book which we are studying as part of our A-level), but also in gaining a real insight into the peril of being stuck indefinitely in a detention centre.
We then visited Charleston Farmhouse which is where the sister of Virginia Woolf lived. We received a guided tour of the house and were told copious amounts of information about the Bloomsbury Group as the house was one of the group’s country retreats. The house gave a real impression of the way in which Vanessa Bell, her husband Clive Bell and the rest of the Bloomsbury Group broke away from the normalities of society; the physical embodiments of their modern attitudes were conspicuous throughout the house. Examples of this included Bell’s post-impressionist paintings which adorned almost every corner of every room, signalling a clear break from realism which had been the most prevalent style of painting in the early 20th century.
The final destination on our trip was Monk’s House which had been the countryside residence of Virginia Woof (author of ‘Mrs. Dalloway’ which we are studying as part of our ‘Women in Literature’ unit) and her husband, Leonard Woolf. I personally felt that the most intriguing part of Monk’s House was Woolf’s writing hut which was situated in the garden, and a place where she often went to work. This allowed us to immerse ourselves into Woolf’s world and be surrounded by the things which inspired her and allowed her to write so inspiringly, in the way that she did.