Patricia Craig at the Dublin Review of Books:
Think of Bloomsbury and what might spring to mind is its “orderly profligacy and passionate coldness”. (The phrase is Elizabeth Hardwick’s, in one of her early essay/reviews for The New York Review of Books.) But there was always more to Bloomsbury than this suggests. First came the actual geographical locality – the streets and squares and architecture of a part of central London – and then the associations imposed on top of it: literary, scholarly, urbane or bohemian. Bloomsbury as an idea continues to reverberate, in ways both gossipy and profound. Bedazzling sexual intrigues and a spot of intellectual hauteur are only a part of it. And however many words have been expended on Bloomsbury (and there have been a lot), there is always more to be said. Francesca Wade’s superbly engaging Square Haunting takes up the theme, but at the same time narrows and intensifies its focus. Wade homes in on a single square, Mecklenburgh Square, which is not at the heart of the potent locality but rather on its periphery.