The city of Charleston in South Carolina and Charleston, a small farmhouse in Sussex, England, share the reputation of being epicenters of modernism in the first half of the 20th century. Charleston in the UK, the rural home of the Bloomsbury group painters Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, was a hub of creative and intellectual activity as well as social and domestic experimentation. Frequent guests included innovative artists and writers such as Virginia Woolf (Bell's sister), Leonard Woolf, Clive Bell, John Maynard Keynes, Lytton Strachey, Roger Fry, as well as T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster, and Benjamin Britten. Charleston in South Carolina is also associated with an explosion of creativity and artistry during a similar period. Pioneering writers, artists and musicians, such as Josephine Pinckney, Alfred Hutty, DuBose Heyward and George Gershwin lived and worked in Charleston, SC, at that time. Barbara Bellows Rockefeller and Frances Spalding consider the circumstances that led to the burgeoning of radical new art forms and alternative ways of living in such disparate parts of the globe - Sussex UK and the American Deep South.
Professor Frances Spalding is an art historian and biographer of Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and Roger Fry. A historian of the American South and a former professor at Middlebury College, Barbara Bellows Rockefeller's publications on the Charleston Renaissance include a biography of Josephine Pinckney.
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