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Men Explain Things to Me front coverWoolfians who attended the 2009 conference in New York, Woolf in the City, were treated to a keynote address by Rebecca Solnit. In person as in her prose, Rebecca paints beautiful word pictures and reflect thoughtfully on their significance.

Her talk wasn’t included in the selected papers from that conference, but now she has published it as “Woolf’s Darkness: Embracing the Inexplicable” in her newest book, Men Explain Things to Me. The essay’s title in this volume is taken from Woolf’s 1915 diary entry: “The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think.” In noting the relevance of Woolf’s work today, Solnit says: “Here we are, after all, revisiting the words of a woman who died three quarters of a century ago and yet is still alive in some sense in so many imaginations, part of the conversation, an influence with agency.”

The title essay, “Men Explain Things to Me,” may go down in history as a feminist classic along with Judy Brady’s “I Want a Wife” in the 1972 inaugural issue of Ms. Magazine. And, no surprise, Solnit evokes Woolf in her jibe at male (some, not all, she allows) know-it-allness: “A Freudian would claim to know what they have and I lack, but intelligence is not situated in the crotch—even if you can write one of Virginia Woolf’s long mellifluous musical sentences about the subtle subjugation of women in the snow with your willie.”

Virginia Woolf is clearly a strong influence and appears in almost all of Solnit’s work. In her last book of personal essays, The Faraway Nearby, she is motivated to dig deeper into reflections about her mother by Woolf’s example and words in Moments of Being: “It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole.” Rebecca Solnit puts her stories and arguments into words in a way that does credit to Woolf.

 

Alice Lowe:

Alice Lowe “observes perpetually,” and she does it in loving memory of Virginia Woolf. Truly. See Pg. 26.

Originally posted on Alice Lowe blogs ... about writing & reading & Virginia Woolf:

“Observe perpetually,” Virginia Woolf said, by which I’m sure she meant, “keep your ears open too.” When I overheard this one-sided conversation, I was stunned–is this person really saying these things? Then, quickly, I picked up my pencil and started jotting it all down. I guess that makes me a writer! I didn’t add to her remarks, just tidied & organized it as a whole and thought some publisher of vignettes, like Vine Leaves, would like it. They did & published “In Loving Memory” in their July issue, here (on page 26).

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Paula Maggio:

A post on Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury — in Italian.

Originally posted on occhimentecuore:

“Così appare molto fondata la tesi che sono gli abiti a portare noi, e non noi a portare gli abiti; possiamo far sì che modellino bene un braccio, o il seno, ma essi ci modellano a piacer loro il cuore, il cervello, la lingua.”

Questa l’opinione di Virginia Woolf sulla moda, lei che sembrò non occuparsene. Nel 1924 per un ritratto che sarebbe apparso su Vogue in indossò un goffo e “old fashioned” vestito nero appartenuto a sua madre.

tumblr_llw9bkYITR1qgcn2wo1_500Di lei qualcuno disse “sembrava sempre che prima di uscire fosse stata trascinata attraverso una siepe”. Ma nonostante ciò, senza volerlo, creò uno stile.

virginia-woolfStile che si estese anche ai luoghi che frequentò, Charleston su tutti, la casa di campagna dove visse insieme ad alcuni membri, parenti prossimi, di Bloomsbury. Casa in cui tutto venne dipinto: pareti, mobili, tessuti.
Il tutto trasferito da Burberry nella Bloomsbury Collection A/W…

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Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision,” the exhibit of Woolf portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in London, opened July 10 and runs through Oct. 26. Formal reviews are appearing online. But informal ones are popping up on the VWoolf Listserv as well.

Below are some comments from lucky visitors to the exhibit who posted their thoughts to the list this week:

“I saw the show last week and was captivated. I particularly enjoyed the section on Woolf and public transport! That said, there was a glaring, dismaying mistake in one of the captions. Under a first edition of Ulysses, Harriet Shaw Weaver is identified as the “owner of the Shakespeare & Company bookshop in Paris” who approached the Hogarth Press about publishing the full book. Of course Weaver was the editor of The Egoist, who serialized Ulysses and yes approached the Woolfs. Sylvia Beach was the owner of Shakespeare & Company, who finally published the book herself, at great personal expense, and as far as I know had no dealings with the Woolfs or Hogarth.” – Laura

“I was lucky enough to have my trip to London coincide with the exhibit. I wish it had not been so crowded, as it was hard to pace myself, but I was so glad to get the chance! The book that Spalding has compiled for the exhibit NPG bookwould be worth the while, I think, and is likely available online through the NPG. It’s very well curated, with some rare pieces, including candid shots from Ottoline Morrell’s photo album. I think the impromptu snaps of Virginia are often so much more interesting than those she posed for.”  - Andrea Adolph

“Frances Spalding has done a wonderful job of creating a narrative through visual artefacts.  Those photos by Ott can actually be seen on the NPG website, I believe.  I was surprised by Mark Gertler’s painting of Koteliansky (?Kot?): quite irrationally I had always imagined Kot as an ascetic and tiny man, but in this portrait he looks like a big burly businessman!  There are some real rarities in the show?the bound volumes of letters that Violet Dickinson returned to VW late in life; I had not ever known Violet annotated these (of course, under glass one can only see a page, but the prospect is tantalizing); also the actual Gestapo list on which L & VW’s names appear.  And yes, the catalog is very rich and interesting.  I am in London doing research for a biography of Clive Bell, so was lucky to be able to see this wonderful exhibition.” – Mark Hussey

NPG twitter feed“I think we should all vacate our posts and head to London! :-)” – Kimberly Coates

If you’re visiting the exhibit, tweet your thoughts using the hashtag #NPGWoolf. By searching tweets with that hasthtag, I found this review on another WordPress blog in which the writer says the exhibit left her “inspired to firstly read everything she’s ever written (starting with Orlando) and secondly, to journal in a more dedicated way.”

10494743_10204389846052378_5999798882152243917_nSarah Ruhl’s stage version of Virginia Woolf’s gender-bending novel Orlando (1928) is coming to Akron, Ohio, in conjunction with the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland.

New World Performance Laboratory’s production will be on stage Aug. 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, and 16 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 10 at 2 p.m., at the Balch Street Theatre, 220 South Balch St.

Staging yesterday and today

The play, which I saw in New York in 2010 and at this year’s Woolf conference in Chicago, is playful, inventive and full of energy. The staging of each production I saw were quite different, so I am curious to see what this version will be like. It is directed by NWPL co-artistic director James Slowiak and featuring company members Jairo Cuesta and Debora Totti along with local actors Rosilyn Jentner and India Burton as Orlando. Ticket prices range from $7.50 to $15. Get tickets here.

Come to a garden party

Virginia Woolf Lawn Party Fundraiser will take place Sunday, Aug. 17, from 4-8 p.m. The $25 cost includes wine, buffet, entertainment and a silent auction. Guests are invited to wear their Bloomsbury best to the event, which will be held at 111 Overwood Rd., Akron. Call 330-867-3299 for reservations.

Paula Maggio:

Here is what Bloomsbury Group members and their contemporaries were doing as World War I began.

Originally posted on SuchFriends Blog:

A production of The Wrens, a one-act play by Lady Augusta Gregory, 62, is playing in London. One of her fellow Abbey Theatre founders, George Moore, also 62, is in the city, but they haven’t spoken for years.

Painter Vanessa Bell, 35, is with her art critic husband Clive, 32, and his family at Cleve House in Wiltshire. Their friend, biographer Lytton Strachey, 34, is nearby in Marlborough, working on his essay, ‘Cardinal Manning.’ With all the talk of war, he is a bit worried about his sister who is travelling in Germany.

Vanessa’s sister, Virginia, also 32, is with her husband, Leonard Woolf, 33, farther east at her Sussex country house, Asham.

In Cambridge, visiting Americans Gertrude Stein, 40, and Alice B. Toklas, 37, have just been introduced to philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, 53, and Alice has heard bells…

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Oh, if only I were in London this month. There’s so much for Woolfians to do. Below is a screenshot of the Aug. 21 National Portrait Gallery Late Shift event, a lecture titled “`Absolutely Divine': Virginia Woolf and Charleston.”

The NPG is celebrating Woolf with a special exhibit, “Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision,” now through Oct. 26.

NPG Charleston event

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