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Last Updated:  Friday, 4 April, 2003, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
Rare Woolf manuscripts bought
Part of the collection
The collection includes an outline for a play
A series of previously unpublished manuscripts hand-written by Virginia Woolf are among a collection that has been bought by The British Library.

The manuscripts form part of two mock newspapers composed by Woolf's nephews, Julian and Quentin Bell, as children.

Some 188 editions of the partly hand-written, partly-typed newspapers - The Charleston Bulletin and The New Bulletin - were found in an old tin trunk.

Woolf's contributions, many of which are written in her favourite purple ink, offer a revealing insight into the Bloomsbury set - a group of artists and and intellectuals that included Woolf and her husband Leonard.

The Charleston Bulletins offer a penetrating perspective on the Bloomsbury group for the first time
Dr Christopher Wright, The British Library

The collection, owned by Quentin Bell's widow, Mrs Olivier Bell, has remained in family hands until now.

It includes miscellaneous manuscript material and artworks by Julian and Quentin, their parents Clive and Vanessa Bell, and other members of the Bloomsbury set.

Reports in the newspapers reveal Julian and Quentin's view of the Bloomsbury set, who were renowned for their Bohemian lifestyle.

Outings, dinner parties and dances are all recounted and often illustrated.

'Important addition'

Apart from the bulletins and supplements, the archive includes contributions from various visitors to the Bell household.

These include a 24-page outline for a play called Country Life and a five-act drama entitled The Conspirators.

The acquisition is seen as an important addition to the library's existing collection of Woolf manuscripts, which includes her own juvenile periodical, The Hyde Park Gate News, written with her sister Vanessa.

"The Charleston Bulletins offer a penetrating perspective on the Bloomsbury group for the first time," said library spokesman Dr Christopher Wright.

The manuscripts are expected to go on show at the library.

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