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Posts Tagged ‘On Being Ill’

on becoming ill eventParis Press Books: On Being Ill

 

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John Lehman

Information about John Lehmann and other Bloomsbury Group figures has been newly posted to the Mantex site.

Roy Johnson of Mantex Information Design wrote Blogging Woolf to say he has added half a dozen new resources connected to Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group to the site. Here they are, with links:

Find more Bloomsbury Group materials, as well as biographical notes, study guides and literary criticism on twentieth century authors, including Woolf and other Bloomsbury Group members.

Visit the Virginia Woolf at Mantex page. Woolf study guides on the site include:Between the Acts

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Blogging Woolf is back from a holiday hiatus made longer by a bout with On Being Ill — the virus, not the Virginia Woolf essay published in 1930  by the Hogarth Press. But now that we are back, we recommend a couple of essays for your edification in this new year.

armoury-show-posterThe first, “1913–What year…” by Kathleen Dixon Donnelly on the SuchFriends blog, takes an in-depth look at the New York Armory Show in February 1913, connecting it to Bloomsbury Group painters Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Roger Fry, etc. who closed London’s Second Post-Impressionist Exhibit early so many of the paintings could be sent on to New York.

Donnelly promises to post updates all year on what was happening to writers in 1913. You can also check out the Such Friends page on Facebook.

The second is Blogging Woolf contributor Alice Lowe‘s latest published work, “On the Road Again,” which appears in the current issue of The Feathered Flounder.

Lowe notes that “being the mother of a daughter and the daughter of a mother is a rich source of feathered flounderreflection.” In this latest poignant essay, she draws on those dual experiences, as well as “from those other gems, memory and aging” to wonder whether she has encountered the beginning of her dotage.

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Woolfians near Manhattan have an advantage tomorrow. They can attend a book launch celebrating the Paris Press 10th anniversary edition of Virginia Woolf’s On Being Ill that includes Notes from Sick Rooms by her mother, Julia Stephen.

It marks the first book publication of Woolf and her mother.

The event will feature readings by Rita Charon (physician and Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine), Mark Hussey (Pace University and acclaimed Virginia Woolf scholar), Judith Kelman (Director of Visible Ink Writing Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering), and Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins (physician and poet).

Held at Case Lounge, JG Hall, Columbia Law School, the event is free and open to the public.

Read a review of the book in Publisher’s Weekly.

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Sally Green posed a question this week on the VWoolf Listserv that asked, “Did Virginia Woolf have anything to say about historical memory, or issues of memory, say, the way Proust thought about memory (or the way we do today when engaging in “memory studies”?

Feedback from the list suggested the following Woolf works that touch on memory:

  • Woolf’s last novel Between the Acts, addresses history as memory.
  • “On Being Ill,” an essay she wrote on the caves of thought one wanders when ill — memories included. Read a Guardian interview with Woolf biographer Hermione Lee on the topic: “Prone to Fancy.”
  • Portions of The Waves alluding to T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land” touch on collective and historical memory.

Influences on Woolf and memory included:

  • Proust’s Recherche, which she read while writing her major novels.
  • Wordsworth’s “The Prelude,” which she read  while composing The Waves (D 3: 236).

Secondary sources on Woolf and memory included:

  • The Formation of 20th-Century Queer Autobiography by Georgia Johnston
  • Virginia Woolf and the Great War by Karen Levenback
  • Modernism, Memory, and Desire: T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf by Gabrielle McIntire.  (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
    “Proust, Woolf, and Modern Fiction,” by Pericles Lewis. The Romantic Review 99: 1 (2008). Download the PDF.

I also found these:

Memory is the seamstress, and a capricious one at that. Memory runs her needle in and out, up and down, hither and thither. We know not what comes next, or what follows after. Thus, the most ordinary movement in the world, such as sitting down at a table and pulling the inkstand towards one, may agitate a thousand odd, disconnected fragments, now bright, now dim, hanging and bobbing and dipping and flaunting, like the underlinen of a family of fourteen on a line in a gale of wind – Orlando

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Everywhere I go, I hear it — that hacking cough that people just cannot seem to get rid of this fall.

So how fitting that this week, the Financial Times published a review of Virginia Woolf’s 1930 volume On Being Ill.

As the story goes, Woolf fainted at a party in 1925. During the aftermath, which involved several months of recuperation, she wrote a thoughtful rumination on how illness changes one’s experience of the world.

Those thoughts were published by the Hogarth Press in a slim volume with cover art designed by her sister, Vanessa Bell. It was titled On Being Ill.

The Financial Times review mentions a new edition of the volume, published by Paris Press and with an introduction by Hermione Lee. It is a facsimile of the original, cover art and all.

Five years ago, in 2003, Lee presented the keynote address at the 13th Annual International Virginia Woolf Conference on the essay. The theme that year was “Woolf in the Real World.” Nothing is more real than illness.

The Paris Press edition is not that new. My volume, which I picked up several years ago at my local Borders, has a copyright date of 2002.

Perhaps you can pick up a copy for an ill friend. It just might change his or her experience of the world.

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