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Woolf around the Web

A few recent Woolf sightings:

  • A history project in San Francisco’s gay district that honors Virginia Woolf. The last bronze plaque of the 20 in the Rainbow Honor Walk will memorialize Woolf as a deceased person in the LGBT community who left a lasting legacy. Author Armistead Maupin will dedicate her plaque, which will be located near the Twin Peaks bar at the corner of Castro and 17th streets.
  • An open letter to Woolf: To the Late Virginia Woolf by Erin Lin published Aug. 29, 2014. Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 11.56.58 AM
  • Book recommendations from a Berkeley-based bookstore with a Woolf-related name, Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary & Garden Arts. The shop offers Mrs. Dalloway’s Better Than a Book Club Selections and the Welcome to Clarissa’s Bookshelf young adult blog.
  • Dr. Claire Nicholson’s exploration of  Woolf’s often ambivalent relationship with clothes and fashion as part of the National Portrait gallery’s exhibit on Virginia Woolf. The Luncthtime Lecture, Virginia Woolf: A Woman of Fashion?, is free and will be held Sept. 4 at 1:15 p.m. at the NPG.
  • Insurrections of the Mind, coming Sept. 16 from Harper Perennial, collects 70 essays from the influential The New Republic magazine that includes one from Woolf.
  • A review of the documentary Secrets from the Asylum that mentions Laura Stephen, Woolf’s half-sister.
  • Orlando was sold out in Akron, Ohio.
  • Woolf broke a grammar rule regarding accusative predicates.
  • This list of “Six Best Books” includes Maggie Gee’s Virginia Woolf in Manhattan.
  • What do we see when we read? A take on Lily Briscoe’s painting in To the Lighthouse — and how we see Woolf’s words and Lily’s painting.

The Cambridge Companion to Bloomsbury, edited by Victoria Rosner, is now out.  It’s available inCambridge Comp to BG paperback.

According to the Cambridge website, the volume:

  • Provides the only general introduction to the Bloomsbury Group in print
  • Offers a radically new interpretation of Bloomsbury, with an emphasis on politics, both international and sexual
  • Brings together many of the major scholars of the Bloomsbury Group

You can also find a list of the essays included in the volume on the site. Contributors include Molly Pulda, Victoria Rosner, Katy Mullin, Ann Banfield, Morag Shiach, Christopher Reed, Christine Froula, Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, Mary Ann Caws, Helen Southworth, Laura Marcus, Vesna Goldsworthy, Brenda R. Silver and Regina Marler.

Originally posted on SuchFriends Blog:

…In England

War has come to Bloomsbury.

The image of Lord Horatio Kitchener, 64, recruiting young men, appears for the first time, on the black and white cover of London Opinion magazine.

1st appearance of Lord Kitchener's recruiting image

1st appearance of Lord Kitchener’s recruiting image

Bloomsbury friend, critic Desmond MacCarthy, 37, has signed up for the Red Cross Ambulance Service; art critic Clive Bell, turning 33, is trying to figure out how to join a non-combat unit such as the Army Service Corps; and painter Duncan Grant, 29, has entered the National Reserve.

Despite the hostilities in the rest of Europe, the Bloomsberries don’t stop moving. Duncan takes a studio in Fitzroy Square as well as rooms in nearby 46 Gordon Square, where Clive lives with his wife, painter Vanessa Bell, 35. Their friend John Maynard Keynes, 31, writing articles for The Economist magazine, moves to Great Ormond Street; and Vanessa’s sister…

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Virginia Woolf on the BBC

Diary Vol. 3We all know that Virginia Woolf was on the BBC. Her essay, “Craftsmanship,” was  broadcast as part of BBC Radio’s “Words Fail Me” series on 29 April 1937.

The piece took up about 21 minutes of air time, but less than eight minutes were actually recorded. To those of us who love her work, it seems tragic that her voice reading every word  of her essay is not preserved on tape. But tape was expensive, and more of her words were preserved than was typical for such broadcasts. Three to four minutes was the standard, according to the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain.

But until now, I didn’t know that Woolf also recorded her thoughts about the BBC in her diary — and that those thoughts would be used in a current-day analysis of BBC objectivity. Here’s what Woolf recorded in her diary for 6 May 1926:

There is a brown fog; nobody is building; it is drizzling. The first thing in the morning we stand at the window & watch the traffic in Southampton Row. This is incessant. Everyone is bicycling; motor cars are huddled up with extra people … It is all tedious & depressing, rather like waiting in a train outside a station. Rumours are passed round – that the gas would be cut off at 1 – false of course. One does not know what to do … A voice, rather commonplace & official, yet the only common voice left, wishes us good morning at 10. This is the voice of Britain, to which we can make no reply. The voice is very trivial, & only tells us that the Prince of Wales is coming back, that the London streets present an unprecedented spectacle.

These words of Woolf’s are used to introduce an 18 August 2014 piece in The Guardian that questions whether this trust in the BBC is still well-placed. The article quotes Woolf extensively in its review of BBC coverage of the General Strike of 1926.

One quote shares Woolf’s response to Winston Churchill’s efforts to make the BBC an offshoot to the British Gazette, the government’s short-lived publication that served as an effective propaganda tool for the government. Churchill, a correspondent in the Boer War, shaped the paper’s editorial stance, all while he was serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Winston … said it was monstrous not to use such an instrument [as broadcasting] to the best possible advantage.

The three-part BBC2 series, “Life in Squares” now in production, will explore the lives of the Bloomsbury Group. It takes its Life in Squaresname from the Dorothy Parker quote, ““lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles.”

It is billed as an “intimate and emotional” drama spanning the first half of the 20th century. Chief among the drama will be the lives and loves of Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell. Lydia Leonard and Phoebe Fox play Woolf and Bell in their younger years as they escape Victorian conformity in Kensington with their move to Bloomsbury.

The series is being filmed in London and at Charleston Farmhouse, Vanessa’s home known as “Bloomsbury in the country.”

Life In Squares tells the story of the Bloomsbury group over 40 years, from the death of Queen Victoria to the Second World War, as they attempted to forge a life free from the constraints of the past. Their pursuit of freedom and beauty was always passionate, often impossible and ultimately devastating, yet their legacy is still felt today. – BBC

Dr. Ann Martin of the University of Saskatchewan and editor of the fall 2015 issue of the Virginia Woolfvwm Miscellany has issued a call for papers on the theme “Virginia Woolf in the Modern Machine Age.”

The topic is a natural for her, as she has presented papers and published essays on the topic of Woolf’s complicated relationship with the motor car. I was charmed by her paper, “The Lanchester’s Fluid Fly Wheel: Virginia Woolf and British Car Culture,” which she presented at the 23rd Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf.

Call for paper details

The Virginia Woolf Miscellany invites submissions of papers that address the role of everyday machines in the life and/or works of Virginia Woolf. From typewriters and telephones to gramophones and the wireless; from motor-cars and combat aeroplanes to trains and department store elevators; from cameras and film projectors to ranges and hot water tanks, the commonplace technologies of the modern machineage leave their trace on Bloomsbury.

To what extent are these and other machines represented, hidden, implied, avoided, embraced, or questioned by Woolf and her circle and characters? What is the place of labour and mass production, or the role of the handmade or bespoke object, in the context of such technologies and the desires with which they are implicated? What are the ramifications for the individual’s everyday navigation of modernity, domesticity, and/or community? Alternatively, what is the influence of everyday technologies in our own interactions with Woolf and her writings?

Please submit papers of no more than 2500 words to Ann Martin at ann.martin@usask.ca by 31 March 2015.

Mrs. Dalloway on stage and TV

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 1.41.43 PM

Rebecca Vaughan as Clarissa, wearing an emerald green chiffon tea-dress

Mrs. Dalloway is on stage in Edinburgh now and will be on the BBC soon.

  • A stage version of Woolf’s novel is part of the 2014 Festival Fringe through Aug. 25 at Assembly Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • BBC Four’s new series The Secret Life of Books will feature Woolf expert Dr Alexandra Harris speaking on the novel. A date for the broadcast has not been set. The series includes six 30-minute programs that examine original texts, manuscripts, letters and diaries behind the creation of six classic books, including Mrs. Dalloway.

Dr Alexandra Harris believes Mrs Dalloway is a book about madness that Virginia Woolf wrote so that she could remain sane. Using Virginia Woolf’s diaries and the original manuscript of Mrs Dalloway, Alexandra tells the poignant story of how Woolf battled to transform her private demons into one of the most daring novels of the interwar years, and the book that would make her name.

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