By James Wilkes (auth.)

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Extra resources for A Fractured Landscape of Modernity: Culture and Conflict in the Isle of Purbeck

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I do think we shall have to be careful’, she wrote, 38 A Fractured Landscape of Modernity especially in England where it seems to me one can never get away from all this fatal prettiness. , which won’t be gay and pretty? I see how easy it would be to turn out yards of very fanciful and bright and piquant things, and I don’t see what else that couple [Hudson and Sands] can do. 116 The charge of prettiness and creepiness cannot be put down to clique prejudices either: in the next paragraph Bell went on to confess to a sudden awful doubt about the quality of Duncan Grant’s painting as well.

120 Studland Beach suggests, however, a sense of failure in advance of the cataclysm of war. Woolf would retrospectively date the breaking of the mirror to the “other thing”, the twin horrors of the deaths of family members and the indiscriminate slaughter of the trenches. But the space of the beach already registers, for Bell, the inability of “nature” to provide either the anchoring point of a classical perspective, dissolved as this is into the relativity of an environment, or a prospect of infinity which mirrors the self.

20 A Fractured Landscape of Modernity distance between men and women, these technologies of disguise and discernment may never have received the emphasis they did. 17 (Indeed, the designated nudist area on Studland beach is itself a present-day site of such contention, as I discuss later. ) It should not be forgotten, however, that the struggle over decency was also heavily inflected with issues of social class; it is not so easy to separate out these two battlegrounds of the beach. 18 Just as segregation had created the conditions for the flourishing of bathing machines, so changing cultural currents led to their decline and eventual abandonment as the nineteenth century came to an end.

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