Happy birthday, Leonard Woolf

An email from Cecil Woolf this morning reminded me that today would be his uncle Leonard’s 135th birthday.

I posted the reminder on Facebook and sent out a tweet about it.

Others (@manuelardingo @diconodioggi @SomeOfHerParts) picked it up and added to the conversation, resulting in a string of tweets about the day — and how one marks it.

This one included a photo of Virginia’s Nov. 25, 1928 diary entry:


The University of St. Andrews has acquired an archive of dozens of letters from Virginia Woolf’s friends and family collected by biographer Brownlee Kirkpatrick.

The collection includes two previously unseen photographs of Woolf.

The material will be made accessible to academics and the general public in a Special Collections Reading Room at the University of St Andrews. The Special Collections staff and the staff in the school of English have been working together to develop a Virginia Woolf and Hogarth Press research collection.

“This archive will put St Andrews even more firmly on the map as a world-ranking centre for the study of literary modernism in general and Virginia Woolf as one of its great proponents in particular,” Woolf scholar Susan Sellers told the Herald Scotland. She is also the author of the award-winning novel Vanessa and Virginia.



A series of short films that shine a spotlight on 20th-century women writers who can be considered outsiders includes one on Virginia Woolf, who thought of herself as an outsider in terms of education and writing.

Being “locked out” provided her with more freedom, according to narrator Sue Asbee. She adds that Woolf’s achievements lie in her willingness to take risks and to experiment with form and subject matter.

Other writers in the new English literature module at The Open University include Katherine Mansfield, Jean Rhys and Jeanette Winterson.

Take a night walk with Mrs. Dalloway

Editor’s Note: Westrow Cooper, who will lead the Mrs. Dalloway walking tour London Sign Postnext Thursday evening, contributed this post.

It was a bright June morning when Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. Setting off in her footsteps on a dark November evening may therefore seem a little perverse. But, after all, how many bright spring mornings can one count on in England? And when is not a good time to walk and talk about Mrs Dalloway?

So if you’re in London next Thursday evening, 26th November, come and do a bit of night walking, through a city getting ready for a party, in the footsteps of Mrs Dalloway and Virginia Woolf.

‘Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.’ But even as she steps out into the clamour and commotion of the street, the squeak of the hinges casts her mind back to her youth and the fateful summer at Bourton when she stood ‘on the theshold of her adult life.’ Just as the past is always present in the fabric of the city, so our own past reverberates throughout our lives as individuals.

Westminster, St James’s, Piccadilly, Bond Street, Oxford Street, Harley Street, Fitzrovia and then across to the famous squares of Bloomsbury. This walk takes us through the historic centre of the dynamic metropolis, brought to life on the page so vividly in Virginia Woolf’s masterpiece.

Few books convey the sheer wonder, the miracle of being alive, here, now and in the city as vividly as Mrs Dalloway. This walk, in the footsteps of Mrs Dalloway and Virginia Woolf, provides the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the city and the novel. To immerse ourselves in a London busy, crowded and lit up for Christmas; a London, in other words, getting ready for a party.

As Virginia Woolf wrote in her essay Oxford Street Tide – ‘The charm of modern London is that it is not built to last; it is built to pass.’

Meet at 6 p.m. outside Westminster Abbey Gift Shop. Details and booking here: https://goo.gl/odXuxG

I came across two things today that play off each other in an interesting way. The first is a thoughtful review of Mrs. Mrs. DallowayDalloway (1925) from a first-time reader. The second is a compilation of one-star reviews of the novel posted on Amazon — with original punctuation and spelling intact.

Here are the links:

Key quotes from the one-star Amazon reviews:

I may not be giving it a fair review since I only made it to page 65


everyone i know who likes this book only does so because he or she was told by some professor that it’s supposed to be good and can provide no evidence to confirm it


definitley not a fun read

Despite opposition from Woolfians worldwide, the destruction of Virginia Woolf’s view of Godrevy Lighthouse from Godrevy LighthouseTalland House is set to move forward, according to a Nov. 7, 2015, story in The Independent.

The proposed multi-story development of six flats and a car park will be built, thanks to a decision by Cornwall County Council that the development can move forward once Porthminster Beach View Ltd. pays £136,000 for not having to provide any “affordable housing.”

The move comes after Woolf scholars and common readers from around the globe raised an outcry last summer, using email, social media and the Web. Their efforts generated media coverage that included the BBC and resulted in the Cornwall Council Planning Committee postponing its decision on the project.

The construction project was further stalled in early August when the English High Court threw out 2014 legislation that said developments of 10 or less could avoid paying an affordable-housing levy or offering any such housing in their development.  The August ruling meant that the developer of the St. Ives project must rethink the economic viability of the project and resubmit it — or pay £136,000.

With the Cornwall County Council decision that the development can take place once the fee is paid, it is unlikely the project can be stopped, despite an outcry from Woolf readers and scholars, as well as her family members.

This appears to be the case despite an email from English Heritage saying legislation includes a provision to “avoid harm to the setting of a listed building if it contributes to the significance of the building.” Talland House is considered Grade II, which means it is “nationally important and of special interest.  The St. Ives resident cited National Planning Framework Section 12 paras. 128,9,132 and noted that he would add this information to the planning comments page for the project, PA15/04337.

Woolf and her family summered at Talland House for the first 12 years of her life. The lighthouse she could see from her summer home plays an integral role in her famous novel To the Lighthouse (1927).

This is a short-sighted move by St Ives and Cornwall’s planners, who seem unaware of the legions of Woolf’s admirers who make the pilgrimage to the town lured by the special, untouched atmosphere captured in my great-aunt’s visionary novel To the Lighthouse – the view of which should remain unobscured for generations to come. – Virginia Nicholson, Woolf’s great-niece

Links to more about the view

I just came across a fascinating project titled “Literary Bloomsbury” that combines social media with theVW Twitter Bloomsbury Group.

In it, Camilla Lunde, whose Twitter handle is @CGlunde, imagines how Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, E.M. Forster and the Hogarth Press would make use of 21st-century social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

With this project, Lunde has given the four key members of the group their own social media presence. Woolf is on Twitter as @mrsstephenwoolf. Forester has an author Facebook page. Bell has an Instagram account as mrsstephenbell. And the Hogarth Press is on YouTube.

While I find the idea interesting, its reach is limited at present. Woolf only has four tweets posted. I was unable to find Forster’s page when I did a Facebook search. Bell’s Instagram account is private, so can’t be viewed unless one goes to a link on the Project Publishing blog. And I couldn’t locate the YouTube page for the Hogarth press either, although a screenshot exists on Lunde’s Tumblr blog. Lunde does not include links to the accounts on her blog.

Lunde’s project has won praise on social media and an award from the UCL Centre for Publishing at University College London.




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