The Time Virginia Woolf Wore Blackfaceposted on 12 Feb 2019
On or about December 1910 human character changed,” Virginia Woolf famously declared. Woolf not only helped bring about modernism; she dared give it a start date. But she could have set that start date earlier in the year. On February 7, 1910, Woolf and three other members of the emerging Bloomsbury group, including Woolf’s brother Adrian Stephen, played a hoax on the famed British battleship H.M.S. Dreadnought by impersonating the emperor of Abyssinia and his retinue. Donning blackface, fake beards, and turbans, the group managed to board the ship as honored visitors—with two additional members pretending to be their guides, essentially posing as themselves.