Ritzonia" was the epithet coined by Bernard Bernson, who sold Italian pictures to American millionaires, to describe the unreal, mortifying sameness of their luxury. "Ritzonia, " he wrote in 1909, "carries its inmates like a wishing carpet from place to place, the same people, the same meals, the same music. Within its walls you might be at Peking or Prague or Paris or London and you would never know where.
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Bell defined civilization in the language of a Bloomsbury connoisseur: 'A taste for truth and beauty, tolerance, intellectual honesty, fastidiousness, a sense of humour, good manners, curiosity, a dislike of vulgarity, brutality, and over-emphasis, freedom from superstition and prudery, a fearless acceptance of the good things of life, a desire for complete self-expression and for a liberal education, a contempt for utilitarianism and philistinism, in two words - sweetness and light.' Bell argued that 'as a means to good and as a means to civility a leisured class is essential'. The Bloomsbury group was necessary because 'It is only when there come together enough civilized individuals to form a nucleus from which light can radiate, and sweetness ooze, that a civilization becomes possible. The disseminators of civilization are therefore highly civilized men and women forming groups sufficiently influential to affect larger groups, and ultimately whole communities.
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