Bloomsbury: A House of Lions, by Leon Edel. New York: Avon Books. $2.75.

When one of America's foremost biographers enters the "cage" with nine Bloomsbury lions (including at least three monarchs in the realm of modern biography), the result is sure to fascinate followers of the 20th-century cultural scene. The nine figures on which Edel focuses were members of the intellectual group that met in the London's yeasty Bloomsbury section over the first three decades of the 20th century. Influenced by the intellectual ferment at Cambridge, as well as by the ideas of G. E. Moore and others, the "Bloomsberries" attempted to incorporate an ethic of enlightened humanism, openness, and pleasure in friendship into everything they thought and did, fusing their lives with their works. Edel lauds the group's recognition that the potential for biography -- for human life -- is our ultimate work of art, our "story," our "supreme fiction."

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