In Night and Day, set in 1910, Virginia Woolf writes explicitly of the suffrage campaign. She places the office of her suffrage society, the 'S.G.S.', in the heart of Bloomsbury, in Russell Square. Mary Datchet works there ('From ten to six every day') in an office on the top-floor of a large house 'which had once been lived in by a great city merchant and his family'.
Jesse Blair is an editorial assistant for Killing the Angel, the new Woolf-inspired literary journal, so it’s no surprise that she inserts a dialogue about Woolf to introduce the characters in her novella, Lawrence and the Machine.
Lawrence responds to an ad for a room in a house near the New England university where he studies accounting and is taken into the living room to meet its eccentric inhabitants, self-professed intellectuals, in the midst of a discussion about Virginia Woolf:
“I don’t care what you say. The Voyage Out was Woolf’s most groundbreaking work.”
“Are you high?”
“Every Virginia Woolf scholar worth her salt knows that Mrs. Dalloway is her epic success.”
“To the Lighthouse.”
“Oh, please. How clichéd. Your literary opinions embarrass you and your sweet little library degree.”
“The scholars agree! To the Lighthouse revolutionized the modern novel. The Voyage Out was by far Woolf’s least brilliant novel.”
“According to you. Have you ever had an original thought, or do you just read the criticism of others to develop your theories?”
And so it goes, until they notice Lawrence and someone asks his opinion of Woolf’s greatest masterpiece. Lawrence: “Woolf, Woolf … I strained to recall syllabi from my one or two undergraduate literature classes, to no avail. ‘Well…’ I finally improvised. ‘They were all pretty good, weren’t they?’
The story veers off from there into some pretty bizarre territory, well beyond talk, and while Woolf doesn’t make any more appearances, I think she would have approved of the proceedings.
Summer’s coming–here’s one to take to the beach and read in a single outing (but don’t forget the sunscreen).
- “Mrs. Dalloway” At 88 (theawl.com)
- The Invisible Thread: the Anniversary of Mrs. Dallwoay (anniecardi.com)
- Happy Birthday, Mrs. Dalloway! (theparisreview.org)
A Knife in the Whale, a play writtenb by Liz Jardine-Smith and directed by Dominique Gerrard, explores the links between Virginia Woolf’s creativity and her mental state.
It will be on stage for one night only, May 31, at Compass Theatre, Glebe Avenue, Ickenham, London. It is part of Hillingdon Artsweek 2013. Additional performances may be added later, according to the author.
- Virginia Woolf Summer Events (peejaywbn.wordpress.com)
One of my favorite books is Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own". I read this book several years ago for the first time and it left quite an impression on me. The summary of it was that everyone needs their own space to create. I always have a creative space. I have found over the years that sometimes that can be challenging.
The sun is out, the sky is blue: it’s time to pack a picnic and head out to Charleston, the home and country meeting place for the writers, painters and intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury group. The interior of the house is uniquely decorated by artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell (sister of Virginia Woolf). The gardens are perfect for generally loafing about and if you’re quick about it, you may still be able to get tickets for the Charleston Festival.
If you haven’t walked in her steps through England — or even if you have — this is a great way to get an up-close look at the Woolfs’ longtime home.