From Clapham to Bloomsbury via Hyde Park Gate

Activity: Invited talk/public lecture/debate


Night and Day is a novel about a young woman’s confinement in, and escape from, the Victorian home, as the protagonist Katharine Hilbery escapes the confines of a house dominated materially and psychologically by the memory of her ‘eminent Victorian’ grandfather, for a life with Ralph Denham. This talk will read Night and Day in the light of Virginia Woolf’s own move in 1904 from her father’s house in Hyde Park Gate to community living in Bloomsbury, a move she described as a rejection of the values of her upbringing: ‘the gulf which we crossed between Kensington & Bloomsbury was the gulf between respectable mum[m]ifi ed humbug & life crude & impertinent perhaps, but living’ (D1 206). As the talk will show, however, these values were deeply imbued with the Puritan beliefs of her religious and cultural roots in the Clapham Sect, and Woolf subjects these to close critique within the novel.
Period14 Sept 2019
Held atVirginia Woolf Society of Great Britain, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • Virginia Woolf
  • Night and Day
  • Victorian Studies
  • Clapham Sect
  • domestic architecture