Cambridge group , a historical destination?

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longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi
This is the last qustion about the words from Lady Challerley's Lover(para. 23):
"Both sisters lived in their father's, really their mother's, Kensington house, and mixed with the young Cambridge group, the group that stood for "freedom" and flannel   trousers, and flannel shirts open at the neck, and a well-bred sort of emotional anarchy, and a whispering, murmuring sort of voice, and an ultra-sensitive sort of manner."

Was "Cambridge group" something like a club consisting of people of different ages and social classes, or just a group consisting of students from Cambridge University? The Chinese translation is "Cambridge students".
Thank you in advance
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    If (i) they lived in Kensington, a very expensive part of London, and (ii) we know that, at the time the book was written, Cambridge University was populated by the upper and upper-middle classes, and (iii) we are told that they are young, then we can see that the "Cambridge group" would be a set of young people from the upper classes who had attended Cambridge at about the same time.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    ... the "Cambridge group" would be a set of young people from the upper classes who had attended Cambridge at about the same time.
    It must be in the past, because Cambridge is too far from London for a Cambridge student to live in London. It could be done in theory, but I doubt it happened often.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I would imagine the group consisted partly of Cambridge undergraduates whose homes were in London and who therefore lived in London during vacations and probably also came up for weekends in term time; and partly of recent Cambridge graduates living in London.
     
    I think Egmont is closer to the truth, here. It's clear from the page and context that Cambridge attendance is NOT current or even recent for most labeled of this 'group.' This conflicts with Wandle's proposal that 'undergraduates' are being referred to.

    Hilda, however, suddenly married a man ten years older than herself, an elder member of the same Cambridge group, a man with a fair amount of money, and a comfortable family job in the government: he also wrote philosophical essays. She lived with him in a smallish house in Westminster, and moved in that good sort of society of people in the government who are not tip-toppers, but who are, or would be, the real intelligent power in the nation: people who know what they're talking about, or talk as if they did.
    So they are people with Cambridge in their background, rather well to do, somewhat progressive in ideals, but rather staid. I do not base this on first hand experience but on what the text says. I'm North American.




    It must be in the past, because Cambridge is too far from London for a Cambridge student to live in London. It could be done in theory, but I doubt it happened often.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    a man ten years older than herself, an elder member of the same Cambridge group
    This implies that most of the group were younger. So does the description:
    the young Cambridge group
    This is perfectly consistent with the idea that it consisted partly of recent graduates, as well as undergraduates.
    In fact, it is difficult to imagine any other make-up for the group. Who else could it be? They are young and connected with the university.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    So they are people with Cambridge in their background, rather well to do, somewhat progressive in ideals, but rather staid.
    I'm sure they were rich(=well to do), but I doubt that they were progressive, because Clifford also came from the group. As we know, Clifford wasn't a progressive man in this novel.

    So could you tell me the lifestyle, the thought and the ideals of the group?(Sorry, it's a little off the topic)
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    They were upper-middle class and and upper - class young men (almost all), often very well-off or very well-connected from privileged intellectual families. They had a variety of political opinions, because people in the UK can think what they want. They were as different in their personalities as any group. I don't know what you imagine. Many liked sport, but some hated it, some were very clever and talented while others were rich wastrels.
    They would go on to have jobs in government, in the law, in teaching or as academics, in the church all that sort of work reserved at that time mostly for the elite.

    (Talking about very few women, I checked and was amazed to read:

    'Although women entered Cambridge lecture halls slightly earlier than those at Oxford, Oxford was the first of the two to admit women to degrees and full status in 1921, 26 years before Cambridge followed suit in 1947'. I'd have thought it was some 20 years earlier and about the same time)
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It must be in the past, because Cambridge is too far from London for a Cambridge student to live in London. It could be done in theory, but I doubt it happened often.
    I would expect Cambridge to be like Oxford where you have to be in residence in your college or college accommmodation for the eight weeks of term, even if your family lives nearby.
    In fact, a punishment for bad behaviour was being 'sent down', excluded from your college and the university, or 'rusticated', being sent down for a limited time, which means sent into the country (out of town) or sent home.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Does anyone else think that Lawrence may have had in mind the male members of what was to become known as the Bloomsbury Group? Many of the male members of the group were educated at Cambridge University, and Lawrence was well acquainted with writers and artists from that set. This wouldn't be the first time that Lawrence used men and women from the Bloomsbury Group as matter for his novels. We've already seen how he used Duncan Grant as the model for the painter Duncan Forbes in LCL.

    There's not much doubt in my mind that those were also the kind of people the young Constance and her sister were associating with.

    Bloomsbury group | English artists circle
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Does anyone else think that Lawrence may have had in mind the male members of what was to become known as the Bloomsbury Group?
    I believe this comment in Wikipedia sheds some light on that:
    In 1905 Vanessa began the "Friday Club" and Thoby ran "Thursday Evenings", which became the basis for the Bloomsbury Group,[6] which to some was really "Cambridge in London".[4] Thoby's premature death in 1906 brought them more firmly together[5] and they became what is now known as the "Old Bloomsbury" group who met in earnest beginning in 1912. In the 1920s and 1930s the group shifted when the original members died and the next generation had reached adulthood.[7]
    That article points out that these individuals belonged to a group of connected families of intellectuals which flourished through several generations, as far back as the Clapham Sect at the start of the 19th century. The Bloomsbury group were apparently descended from some of those families.

    The existence of a second-generation 'young Bloomsbury group' in the 1920s fits neatly with Lawrence's 'young Cambridge group' of that period. Considering that he used easily recognisable pseudonyms for depictions of real people, the switch of 'Cambridge' for 'Bloomsbury' seems quite characteristic.

    A different identification is suggested by Dolores LaChapelle in DH Lawrence: Future Primitive. This book states first that the Bloomsbury group was in conflict with Lawrence, and then goes on :
    Equally at odds with Lawrence were the Cambridge group and Bertrand Russell.
    This seems to have been the empiricist philosophical set. Other members of the this group were Ottoline Morrell, George Moore, Ludwig Wittgenstein and David Garnett. Maynard Keynes was connected with both groups. LaChapelle adds:
    Keynes writes that at the time he met Lawrence, "Cambridge rationalism and cynicism, then at their height, were. of course, repulsive to him [Lawrence]".
    Another view is that of Tianying Zang's work: D. H. Lawrence's Philosophy of Nature: An Eastern View. This author speaks of the "Cambridge-Bloomsbury group" as if they were one and the same.

    Both of these views, however, become irrelevant if 'young Cambridge group' means those of the second generation. It is no longer referring to any of those well-known Edwardian intellectuals, but to their equally fashionable, though less accomplished, descendants.
     
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