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Katherine Mansfield SocietyKatherine Mansfield and the Blooms Berries, an international conference organized by the Katherine Mansfield Society that will be held at the Newberry Library in Chicago, Ill., May 28-30, 2015, has issued a call for papers.

Submit abstracts of 250 words plus a bio-sketch of 50 words to conference organizers, Todd Martin, Erika Baldt, and Alex Moffett. Email to: kmsintheus@gmail.com. Complete panel proposals of three speakers plus a chair, are welcome.

Deadline for abstracts: Oct. 30, 2014.

Get the full details.

What would Woolf drink?

If Virginia Woolf stood in front of the counter at Manhattan’s 114th Street Starbuck’s, what would she order?Woolf mug

A recent post on the Spectrum blog of the Columbia Daily Spectator speculates that her drink of choice would be a green tea cream frappuccino.

The post is said to be inspired by the new Tumblr titled Literary Starbucks, which does not include a Woolf sighting.

However, Woolf does show up in a humorous rant on the torturous process of writing a final paper published by the Spectator last spring.

Woolf herself mentions coffee in The Waves. Here’s the quote:

How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.

The cover article of this week’s (Oct. 5) New York Times Book Review is a glowing assessment, a “run, don’t walk”jThe Assassination of Margaret Thatcher rave of Hilary Mantel’s new story collection, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher. Speaking of Mantel’s deserved reputation in English literature, the reviewer, Terry Castle, declaims that:

“Mantel has assumed an esteemed place in what might be called a great tradition of modern British female storytelling, an ardor-filled, bluestocking lineage extending from Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield in the early part of the 20th century through Elizabeth Bowen, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Elizabeth Taylor, Iris Murdoch, Edna O’Brien, Barbara Pym, Penelope Fitzgerald, Muriel Spark, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Doris Lessing, Beryl Bainbridge and many others in subsequent decades, all the way to such gifted living practitioners (again, to name only a few) as A.S. Byatt, Ruth Rendell, Maureen Duffy, Ali Smith, Jane Gardam, Emma Donoghue, Jeanette Winterson and Zadie Smith.”

I cite the entire list because it strikes me that what Castle is presenting here, in her homage to Hilary Mantel, is a sampling of Virginia Woolf’s vast legacy. These women and many more have fulfilled Woolf’s wishes for women and literature when, in A Room of One’s Own, she admonished them (us, that is) “to write all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast.”

Mantel’s fantastic title story is reproduced in its entirety in the Sept. 28 Review. I love its keenly observed descriptions and quirky but believable characters; I suspect that Virginia Woolf would have enjoyed it too.

Garsington albumCan’t make it to the last week of the exhibition Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision at the National Portrait Gallery? You can see some of it online.

Society hostess Lady Ottoline Morrell’s photograph albums provide a record of guests at her homes  in London and Garsington, Oxfordshire and are featured in the exhibition. You can explore her Garsington album online, which includes images of Woolf and her circle.

Writing after retirementBlogging Woolf contributor Alice Lowe has written a chapter for Writing After Retirement: Tips from Successful Writers, an anthology of short essays on topics that cover the writing basics about getting started, along with tips for specific areas of interest, publishing and marketing, and more.

Alice’s chapter, “A Muse of One’s Own: Finding Inspiration for your Writing Life,” is, of course, focused on Virginia Woolf. It’s Chapter Three in the volume.

View the table of contents on the publisher’s website. Buy it there or on Amazon.

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A new two-part documentary series, Secrets from the Asylum, investigates how mental health was treated in Victorian Britain.

This show highlights the practices of “Lunatic Asylums” as they were called and connects British celebrities to their ancestors who were treated in these asylums.

In episode one, English comedian Al Murray encounters the history of his great-great-great grandfather, novelist William Thackeray, who tried to help his wife, Isabella, with her post-partum depression by having her admitted to an asylum at the age of 23.

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Woolf’s half-sister Laura Stephen

In episode two we learn about the history of Thackeray’s granddaughter, Virginia Woolf’s half-sister, Laura Stephen, who suffered from a learning disability and didn’t “fit in.”

An article by the producers of the show, Scottish Television, states:

Laura “was branded an imbecile and a potential embarrassment to her intellectual father, writer Leslie Stephen, and at the age of 22 was admitted to the Royal Earlswood Asylum.”

In the article Murray said: “What’s shocking about this is that Laura Stephen’s father Leslie was a member of the chattering classes. He couldn’t have been a more intelligent, plugged in, literary, engaged man with modern ideas.

The modern idea in the late 1800s was society was not to be undermined by people who were ‘feeble-minded’, so these people, for their own good and the good of society, were removed. It was the Victorian worry about the purity of the gene pool.”

You can watch the full episodes: Episode 1 & Episode 2

Virginia Woolf on a hook-up chart

Source: Black Balloon Publishing's blog, The Airship.

Source: Black Balloon Publishing’s blog, The Airship.

For more, read “Everyone Your Favorite Author Slept With, in One Extremely Nerdy Chart” on Arts.Mic

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