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This month, the International Virginia Woolf Society shared a series of “interesting facts about Virginia Woolf on its Facebook page.

Vanessa Bell

The most recent, * Interesting fact no. 12, * told the story of how Woolf, 28, and her sister, Vanessa Bell, 30, “once appeared in public almost nude,” according to the judgment of some who saw them at a ball held in conjunction with Roger Fry’s 1910 exhibition of Post-Impressionist painters at the Grafton Galleries.

Inspired by the paintings, the two sisters browned their arms and legs, adorned themselves with flowers and beads, and appeared as bare-shouldered, bare-legged, ‘indecent’, figures from a Gauguin canvas.

It’s said that the two women recreated their Gauguin girl look for a later photo, which has not been located.

Visit the IVWS Facebook page for more interesting facts about Virginia, including the fact that Woolf’s Dreadnought Hoax escapade heads the list of “The Twelve Best Facts from a Year of Interesting Literature.”.

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In “Forgive me, Virginia Woolf,” Melissa Bellinelli shares the story of how she created a Charleston-styleScreen Shot 2013-11-08 at 1.02.24 PM dining room of her own in a sunny Long Island home.

Her inspiration came from taking a class on Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group at Oxford, along with her frequent visits to Charleston Farm.

She remembered the details — the black stenciled walls, the hand-painted round table and the chairs designed by Roger Fry — and decided to mimic them in the dining room addition she and her husband built. So she ordered the reproduction chairs and the Biblioteque wallpaper — and went on to create her fantasy room, in two different incarnations.

Here are some other Charleston links of interest:

The Bloomsbury Crowd Pinterest

Charleston slideshow

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Originally posted on SuchFriends Blog:

…The Omega Workshops open their doors. Using money inherited from a Quaker uncle, painter and critic Roger Fry, 46, along with his Bloomsbury painter friends, Vanessa Bell, 34, and Duncan Grant, 28, produce textiles, ceramics, home furnishings—a whole range of art and decoration, for sale at 33 Fitzroy Square.

#33 Fitzroy Square, home of the Omega Workshops

#33 Fitzroy Square, home of the Omega Workshops

A few doors down from the house Vanessa’s sister, Virginia Woolf, 31, had shared with their brother, it is also convenient walking distance from where Vanessa and her husband, art critic Clive, 31, live with their two children.

Planning the opening celebration, Vanessa writes to Roger:  “We should get all our disreputable and…aristocratic friends to come, and after dinner we should repair to Fitzroy Square where there should be decorated furniture, painted walls, etc. There we should all get drunk and dance and kiss, orders would flow in and the aristocrats would feel…

View original 152 more words

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A CNBC story reports on a collection of Virginia Woolf’s letters and other items that is for sale en bloc for $4 million. The letters are beingCNBC letter sold by Glenn Horowitz Bookseller in Manhattan.

They include letters from Woolf to her nephew Julian Bell, as well as letters from Leonard Woolf, Vanessa Bell and Vita Sackville-West.

The most poignant, said Horowitz during the CNBC interview, is one written by Vita Sackville-West, describing Woolf’s suicide and the days leading up to the discovery of her body. “It’s really one of the most touching collections of letters I’ve had the privilege of handling,” Horowitz said.

The private collection was built over a period of 40 years by William B. Beekman, who started collecting Woolf items as a Harvard undergraduate before Quentin Bell’s 1972 biography brought her renewed interest from the academy, according to Horowitz’s site. Included in the collection are items that span Woolf’ life, such as photographs, letters, inscribed books and dust jackets.

Although the CNBC story put the value of the collection at $4 million, the Horowitz website prices it at $4.5 million. The collection was put on the market and exhibited in East Hampton last July.

In 2011, Horowitz published a digital catalog of Bloomsbury materials to its website. Virginia Woolf, The Hogarth Press, and The Bloomsbury Group contains more than 150 first editions, association copies, letters and more.

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 I finally read Pat Barker’s Toby’s Room. My library’s reservation system is fantastic but does require some patience! Paula first Toby's Roommentioned it here last summer, noting the allusions—in more than the title—to Woolf’s Jacob’s Room, as did Hermione Lee, who reviewed it for The Guardian.

I read Barker’s Life Class around that time before I knew it was the prequel to Toby’s Room, and I posted on the “near sightings,” the Bloomsbury references when the protagonist, Slade art student Elinor Brooke, has tea at Ottoline Morrell’s.

Elinor’s brother Toby, like Jacob before him, dies serving in World War I, and like Jacob is revealed mostly through family and friends. Toby’s Room is still Elinor’s story, in which she seeks to unearth the mysterious details of his death. Woolf appears in entries from Elinor’s diary. She records her impressions from a weekend at Charleston Farmhouse, presumably at the invitation of Vanessa Bell:

“VB was in the drawing room when I arrived, with her sister, Mrs. Woolf. I’ve met her more than once, though I don’t think she remembered me and gave me a lukewarm welcome. Doesn’t like young women, I suspect. I thought the talk would be well above my head, but they were quite relaxed and gossipy and we chatted on easily enough. Or they did. I was too nervous to say much. It was like listening to an old married couple. They’ve got that habit of completing each other’s sentences…”

The other guests are “the conscientiously objecting young men” working at the farm, none of whom, she realizes, are going to be interested in her. There’s talk of the war at dinner, and Woolf talks about “how women are outside the political process and therefore the war’s got nothing to do with them.”

Elinor is struck by Woolf’s observation but finds it less convincing when she later tries to echo the sentiment herself. Barker has no such problem making her case. In both novels, she challenges readers to explore the role of art and artists in time of war, heightening the drama with real, fictional and hybrid characters as she did in her Regeneration trilogy.

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From late December until now, the number of Woolf sightings I have received through a standard Google alert have dwindled to nearly nothing. One might think that Woolf’s popularity has dwindled. That is not the case.

The problem seems to be that something has changed on the Google end of things, and the Woolf sightings I used to receive daily without effort must now be retrieved by initiating a specific search.

Search I did, and here are the 50 Woolf sightings I found stuck in the Google pipeline one recent afternoon. They include references to Woolf and Beyoncé (10), Woolf and gardens (26), Woolf and the Oscars (41), and Woolf and fashion (44).

  1. Bristol Women’s Literature Festival: Interview with Sian NorrisGuide2Bristol, March 5, 2013
    … many wonderful books, but one of my favourite women writers…one of my favourite writers of all time…is VirginiaDaphne du maurier and her sisters Woolf, I absolutely love her.
  2. Casey Legler & Andrej Pejic’s Androgyny Isn’t A Trend At AllRefinery29 (blog), March 4, 2013
    While gender permutation is certainly not a new “trend” in fashion — think Bowie, Virginia Woolf, or even the wig-wearing 18th century men …
  3. Review: Daphne du Maurier and Her Sisters by Jane DunnTelegraph.co.uk, March 3, 2013
    Dunn, one of six sisters herself, has written before of sisterhoods, notably in her study of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. She knows that “it is 
  4. Daphne du Maurier and Her Sisters: The Hidden Lives of Piffy, Bird The Independent-March 1, 2013
    Following Jane Dunn’s account of the sisterly dynamics of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, this is the premise of her engaging study of the …
  5. Magical & deliciousThe Recorder, Feb. 20, 2013on being ill
    This is an undated photo of British author Virginia Woolf. (AP Photo) Ashfield poet and publisher Jan Freeman found a draft of “On Being Ill’ 
  6. It takes balls to be a Great Actor, Irish Independent, March 2, 2013
    Virginia Woolf put it best when she said that a book is always considered important if it deals with men going off to war, but “insignificant if it …
  7. 31 Days of Daily Inspiration From Brilliant WomenHuffington Post, Feb. 28, 2013
     Cady Stanton, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Dorothy Parker, Abigail Adams, Caroline Hershel, Emmeline Pankhurst, Virginia Woolf, Marie Curie.
  8. Women in loveFinancial Times, March 1, 2013
    Virginia Woolf once joked: “If any … dares call me ‘middlebrow’ I will take my pen and stab him, dead.” It is a sign of Jane Dunn’s generous …
  9. William Dalrymple: If I had five more lives, I’d live them all in India, gulfnews.com, Mar 2, 2013
    … Shah Shuja and the first battle for Afghanistan,” says Dalrymple, who has literature in his blood – his father was a cousin of Virginia Woolf.
  10. Same love; different lyricsThe Guardian (blog), March 1, 2013
    It’s a sign of the times that Beyoncé’s lyrics contain more feminist polemic than Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. “My persuasion can build …
  11. In the Critics this WeekNew Statesman, Feb. 14, 2013
    The Critics section of this week’s New Statesman is lead by Jeanette Winterson’s article on the “joyous transgressions” of Virginia Woolf’s
  12. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is right: working from home is bad for , Telegraph.co.uk, Feb. 27, 2013
    As Virginia Woolf observed of (middle-class) women writers, “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”; she … 
  13. James Wood on five great novels of consciousness, Telegraph.co.uk, Feb. 26, 2013
    Mrs Ramsay, in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927) sits and thinks randomly (about God, her children, how the greenhouse will cost £50), 
  14. Cafe Royal: The life and times of a London institutionCITY A.M., March 1, 2013
    The Twenties’ renovation contributed to its success in a new era; Virginia Woolf, Noël Coward, Laurence Olivier, Ivor Novello, JB Priestley and ..
  15. Cracking the Shell of Chick-LitTeen Ink, March 1, 2013
    Sparks’ process of publishing novels is the same as that of J.K. Rowling or Virginia Woolf. It starts with inspiration, continues with hours of 
  16. Sarasota, are you ready to take on the challenge of Marcel Proust?Sarasota Herald-Tribune (blog), March 1, 2013
    Many significant writers of the 20th century, including Graham Green, W. Somerset Maugham, Vladimir Nabokov, Virginia Woolf and Michael ..
  17. A glimpse of the words in actiongulfnews.com, Feb. 27, 2013
    Virginia Woolf’s novels, though I can’t read them now because she’s so terribly snobby. But her prose was a revelation. Do you think the craft 
  18. The case against working at homeLong Beach Press-Telegram, Feb. 28, 2013
    One of the great thinkers on work-life conditions, Virginia Woolf, argued that our ideas themselves are subtly, but importantly, affected by the 
  19. Theater review: Ordinary DaysColumbus Alive, Feb. 27, 2013
    … enthusiasm by Zack Steele, and ever anxious Deb, struggling with her dissertation on Virginia Woolf and given vivid voice by Leslie Goddard, …
  20. A Reading List of One’s Own: 10 Essential Feminist BooksThe Atlantic, Feb. 20, 2013
    Noteworthy feminist writing, from the works of Virginia Woolf to Caitlin Moran. banner_woolf.jpg.Virginia Woolf. flavorpillheader.PNG …
  21. Goodbye Longbourn, hello LahoreNew Zealand Listener, Feb. 27, 2013
    Mullan goes on to quote that wonderful Virginia Woolf line that “of all great writers [Austen] is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness”.
  22. Sex not specified: photography’s gender frontiers, The Age-by Steve Dow, Feb. 25, 2013
     the Eurythmics had done and Tilda Swinton in her breakthrough role as the sex-switching Orlando of the film of Virginia Woolf’s classic novel 
  23. Stoppard in name of loveThe Border Mail, Feb. 27, 2013Stoppard
    ”He was a modernist, he edited Conrad and he knew Joyce, he knew Virginia Woolf. He was very stimulated by that whole modernist world.
  24. The continued conundrum of consciousnessBinghamton University Pipe Dream, Feb. 26, 2013
    Consider some of the great creative minds of the past century: Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath,Virginia Woolf and many more, not exclusive to 
  25. What does it mean to be a writer? For me, writing is a parenthesis , Financial Times, Feb. 22, 2013
    I’ve never had a Virginia Woolf “Room of One’s Own”.  Virginia Woolf’s The Waves (1931) and Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red (1998).
  26. Rhododendrons to shine at Philadelphia Flower ShowMontgomery Newspapers, Feb. 26, 2013
    The gardens are promised to feel so authentic and peaceful that passersby might envision historical British figures like Virginia Woolf, Roger 
  27. Karen Russell: By the BookNew York Times, Feb. 14, 2013
     Wallace Stevens, Stephen King, Denis Johnson, Mary Gaitskill, Virginia Woolf, Ben Marcus, Kelly Link, Joy Williams, Carson McCullers.
  28. App brings artists to allYour Local Guardian, Feb. 26, 2013
     do have key links with number of influential authors, such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Alexander Pope and of course Virginia Woolf.” 
  29. Ups and Downs: Famous Writers and their Day JobsNelson Mail (blog), Feb. 21, 2013
    It’s one of the orange-striped Popular Penguin mugs, with “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and “George Orwell” written on it. The Virginia Woolf model 
  30. New on Netflix: The Hunger Games, The Paperboy, The Artist , Reel Life With Jane, Feb. 27, 2013
    This gripping drama follows the parallel lives of three 20th-century women: incomparable writerVirginia Woolf, an unsatisfied 1950s housewife 
  31. Bring Back the Illustrated Book!New Yorker (blog), Feb. 22, 2013
    In her 1926 essay, “Cinema,” Virginia Woolf reëmphasized the distinction between visual stimulation and the ineffable conjurings of prose.
  32. ‘Or’ star Emily Gunyou Halaas on life in (and out of) the theaterMinneapolis Star Tribune, Feb. 23, 2013
    Virginia Woolf wrote that “All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, for it was she who earned them the right to 
  33. Love Letters: Old Fashioned Affection in a Digital AgeWashington College Elm, Feb. 15, 2013
    Few love letters evoke this risk as mesmerizingly as Virginia Woolf’s letter to her lover Vita Sackville-West, written in 1927: “Look here Vita 
  34. DDF triumph: ‘Soap and Water’Palatinate, Feb. 24, 2013
     suicide: Sylvia Plath, Sarah Kane and Virginia Woolf remind the audience that although the piece may present itself as a contrived situation, 
  35. Review – Ingrid Jonker: A poet’s life1352667520, Independent Online, Feb. 21, 2013
    Often compared to Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf because of her suicide (she drowned in July 1965), sometimes to Marilyn Monroe over her 
  36. Former TNR owner/publisher has seller’s remorse, Hot Air, Feb. 14, 2013
    The first and second cohort of editors and writers included such giants as Felix Frankfurter, Virginia Woolf, Reinhold Niebuhr, Rebecca West, 
  37. Touching Plath’s HairDaily Beast, Feb. 11, 2013
    In 2005, I was lucky to travel to Knole, the family seat of Vita Sackville West, where the original manuscript for Virginia Woolf’s Orlando is on 
  38. Sylvia Plath’s London: ‘When I came to my beloved Primrose Hill , Evening Standard, Feb. 22, 2013
    The evening was spent gossiping about the private lives of DH Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, WH Auden and Stravinsky. The following month the 
  39. Glimpse of a mischievous, surprisingly saucy AustenIrish Independent, Feb. 18, 2013

    Nevertheless, in the limited world Austen inhabited, holding, in the words of Virginia Woolf, “a candle to life on a country house stairway”, a life 

  40. JG Ballard’s Memoir, ‘Miracles of Life’New York Times, Feb. 5, 2013
    “No one in a novel by Virginia Woolf ever filled up the petrol tank of her car,” Ballard notes. “No one in Hemingway’s postwar novels ever 
  41. Why the Oscars Really Are Worth WatchingEsquire (blog), Feb. 22, 2013
    Neither did Kafka, nor Virginia Woolf, and on and on. These writers weren’t particularly uplifting people. They didn’t write virtuous books.
  42. Do we still need women-only spaces? The Guardian (blog), Feb. 15, 2013
    Feminism in the 1970s was based on the truism that every woman needed “a room of one’s own”, a phrase that drew on Virginia Woolf’s 
  43. From Arab Spring to global revolutionThe Guardian, Feb. 5, 2013
    I am drawn to Virginia Woolf’s comment: “On or about December 1910 human character changed.” She was referring to a revolution in social 
  44. Autumn/Winter 2013-14 Ready-To-WearVogue.com, Feb. 12, 2013
    It was all very much anchored in that Virginia Woolf poetic vein – dropped-waist dresses, billowy sleeves, high necks, flocked florals, dancing …
  45. Lens CrafterSanta Fe Reporter, Feb. 19, 2013
     Sigmund Freud’s couch, Annie Oakley’s heart target and Virginia Woolf’s writing table. “Woolf was very messy…art is messy,” Leibovitz says.
  46. Treading warily through historyHuffington Post (blog), Feb. 14, 2013
    Virginia Woolf, for example, deplored Lytton Strachey’s original decision to garner the facts with invented passages in his book, Elizabeth and 
  47. Last Whiff of PIFFWillamette Wee, Feb. 20, 2013
    Chekhov’s elusive endings haunt us, said Virginia Woolf, because we feel “as if a tune had stopped short without the expected chords to close it 
  48. This is 50The Christian Century, Feb. 15, 2013
    The novelist Virginia Woolf sounds a bit like Thomas Merton. At 50, she wrote of her desire to concentrate her life, to turn it away from the 
  49. Writing of walkingSpectator.co.uk (blog), Feb. 7, 2013
    Clarissa Dalloway’s walk from Westminster to Bond Street at the beginning of Mrs Dalloway is one of Virginia Woolf’s most astonishing authorial 
  50. Chrissie SwanThe Age, Feb. 9, 2013
    Kind of like Virginia Woolf’s “room of one’s own”, but it’s a “domain of one’s own”. In their lovely, intimate space, they create a magnificently rich …

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Personal details of Virginia Woolf’s final years are available to the public for the first time after the University of Sussex acquired this engagement diary and seven more at a Sotheby’s auction.

Personal details of Virginia Woolf’s final years are available to the public for the first time after the University of Sussex acquired this engagement diary and seven more at a Sotheby’s auction.

The University of Sussex has purchased Virginia Woolf’s small pocket engagement diaries that she used to detail her personal life from 1930 to 1941. The last entry is for March 28, 1941, which is written in pencil by  Leonard Woolf, and simply states “Died.”

The University of Sussex has purchased Virginia Woolf’s small pocket engagement diaries that she used to detail her personal life from 1930 to 1941. The last entry is for March 28, 1941, which is written in pencil by  Leonard Woolf, and simply states “Died.”

The diaries briefly record Woolf’s meetings with contemporaries, including E. M. Forster and T. S. Eliot, along with visits to her artist sister Vanessa Bell. They also indicate when she would be staying at her home Monk’s House in Rodmell, East Sussex.

Some of the diaries include pencil lines through several dates and appointments, accompanied by the word “Bed,”indicating periods when she was experiencing health problems.

The University’s Special Collections has an extensive collection of materials related to Woolf. It bought the diaries to complement the Monks House Papers, which were donated to the University’s Special Collections in 1972 and contain Woolf’s correspondence from other writers, family, friends, admirers and publishers. They also include her reading notebooks, drafts of essays and typescripts of some of her works, proofed and corrected in her own hand.

The Monks House Papers fall into three groups: letters, manuscripts and press-cuttings. There is documentation of Woolf’s career from her earliest journalism to what was possibly her final short fiction, ‘The Watering Place’, a two-page manuscript which draws on a diary entry of 1941 written shortly before her suicide.

Fiona Courage, special collections manager, said: “The collection very much represents Woolf’s ‘everyday’ life in the same way that the pocket engagement diaries do. As with the engagement diaries, our collections relate to Woolf as an individual rather than her public persona of novelist, reviewer and essayist.

“The activities recorded in these engagement diaries  may not have found their way into her more detailed daily diaries, but  are significant in terms of her daily life, her social circle and her physical and mental state. The diaries also complement a set of appointment diaries belonging to Leonard Woolf, and held within his papers at the University.”

She added that these diaries have never been made publically available for research.“By acquiring them we can now make them accessible to scholars, enthusiasts and the general public.”

The University was able to raise the £60,000 necessary to buy the diaries with support from the V&A/MLA Purchase Grant Fund*, the Friends of the National Libraries and a number of individual donors.

Besides the Monk’s House Papers and the small engagement diaries, the University of Sussex Special Collections holds the following related materials:

  • Leonard Woolf Papers
  • Charleston Papers
  • Birrell Papers
  • Nicolson Papers
  • A.O. Bell Papers
  • Quentin Bell Papers
  • Emery Collection
  • Maria Jackson Letters
  • Mrs Woolf and the Servants: research papers

Additional biographical and literary manuscripts of Virginia Woolf that were at Monk’s House are now in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library in New York. The Berg Collection holds the largest collection of Woolf manuscripts in the world.

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