Frank Swinnerton, ‘Ill mannered and pretentious dilettanti’ From The Georgian Literary Scene (1935)
Other members of this fraternity, the so-called Intelligentsia, live upon the farther side of Tottenham Court Road, and these are the artists and rebels; more still live in Chelsea, down by the River Thames, where artists, poets, and mere frequenters of studios have given rise to more selfexpository novels than any other class of people living at the present day. Such younger aesthetes are not
the real thing; they see themselves as characters in a ‘modn’ tale by Murger or a satirical novel by Aldous Huxley, and are of no account. The seat of intellectual ton lies in Bloomsbury. There, in the shadow of learning’s home from home, Bloomsbury (as the embodiment of an assumption) feels strongly its intellectual superiority to the rest of British mankind. It represents culture. It is full of what Desmond MacCarthy (to whom Bloomsbury is a shrine and even its parents sacrosanct) calls ‘alert, original men and women’: and what I call ill-mannered and pretentious dilettanti.