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Woolf a regular at LitHub

Literary Hub is a clearing house for all things literary—book reviews and reading lists, highlights from all over the web on pop culture and politics from a literary perspective, in addition to their own featured stories, essays, and craft pieces. They put out a daily or weekly LitHub bulletin with an overview and links to the latest content.

A recent feature was an essay by one of LitHub’s staff writers, Gabrielle Bellot: “How Much of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is in the Writing of Virginia Woolf?” It starts with Woolf’s 1934 diary entry that one “can’t unriddle the universe at tea,” and goes on to explore Woolf’s attempts to unriddle aspects of the universe in her reading and writing.

Woolf appears frequently in LitHub—no surprise to Woolfians that her work is an endless and timeless resource—so I went back to see what’s come across my screen this past month:

August 3 – “Rereading Mrs. Dalloway at the Same Age as Mrs. Dalloway”

July 31 – The Most Anthologized Essays in the Past 25 Years – Woolf ranked third (after Joan Didion and Annie Dillard)

July 21 – “9 Classic Country Songs and the Books They Pair With” – “Whoever’s in New England” by Reba McIntire with Mrs. Dalloway

July 14 – “A night with VirginiaWoolf suite at America’s strangest literary hotel”

July 10 – “8 Famous Writers Writing About Not Writing”

and lots more at this excellent resource.

 

 

 

Virginia Woolf Talks, free events hosted by Literature Cambridge and Lucy Cavendish College, are set for fall, along with Literature Cambridge Study Days, for which a fee is charged, at Stapleford Granary.

They include:

Virginia Woolf Talks

  • Speaker and Topic: Frances Spalding on “Virginia Woolf and Roger Fry: Looking at the Carpet from the Wrong Side”
    When: Wednesday 18 October, at 1 p.m.
    Where: Lucy Cavendish College, Lady Margaret Road, Cambridge CB3 0BU.
    Free and open to the public. No need to make a reservation.
  • Speaker and Topic: Claire Davison on “Virginia Woolf and Musical Performance”
    When: Wednesday 29 November at 1 p.m.
    Where: Lucy Cavendish College
    Free and open to the public. No need to make a reservation.

Literature Cambridge Study Days at Stapleford Granary

Where I live, we are lucky to have Nightlight Cinema, a small locally-owned theatre that shows independent films ignored by the big theater complexes that feature blockbusters.

Drawn in by a preview of A Ghost Story, I attended Nightlight’s last showing of the film on Thursday. I was glad I did. Why? Two reasons. It was intriguing. And it pays tribute to Virginia Woolf.

The film, which has received rave reviews, includes the first line of Woolf’s short story “A Haunted House” in the opening credits. It is shown for a few moments on a dark background.

Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting.

Filmmaker David Lowery’s use of the quote was a clue to what I didn’t know but soon learned — that Woolf is one of his favorite authors and her 1921 story helped inspire his film.

My investigation also uncovered the fact that when the ghost knocks several books off a shelf, the open book upon which the camera focuses includes important lines from “A Haunted House,” lines about treasure, buried treasure, “the light in the heart.”

Woolf as guiding light

Orlando is one of my favourite novels,” Lowery told the Irish Times. “I love her letters too. She’s my guiding light. The way she uses time fascinates me. Especially in To the Lighthouse and Orlando. They play with time in this dynamic and fun way. I love the idea of a character existing outside of time in the way that Orlando does.

“So that was certainly on my mind when I was writing the screenplay. And I wanted to pay homage to her in some small regard. And I wondered if she had ever written about ghosts. So I did a Google search. And found A Haunted House. I couldn’t believe that I had never read it before.

“The first sentence begins: ‘Whatever hour you woke there was a door shunting’. [sic] I couldn’t resist extending that to the film. I hope that it encourages somebody somewhere to pick up her work. Because I owe a lot to her.”

Playing with time as Woolf does

The film is a story of a house and its haunting, much like Woolf’s story. And it kept me thinking about its meaning and the message of the film long after I exited the theater, just as Woolf’s writing does long after I finish one of her novels or stories.

What’s more, Lowery plays with time in the film, much as Woolf does. As he noted in an interview with Huffington Post: “Virginia Woolf’s literature really transformed my own ideas about how to formally represent the passage of time and how time affects us. Specifically, the benchmarks are Mrs. DallowayTo the Lighthouse and Orlando, all of which have time as a central conceit.”

Marking 100 years since the end of the First World War and 80 years since the publication of Three Guineas, the 28th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, invites papers addressing the dual theme of Europe and Peace. Download the call for papers.

From the ‘prying’, ‘insidious’ ‘fingers of the European War’ that Septimus Warren Smith would never be free of in Mrs. Dalloway to Woolf’s call to ‘think peace into existence’ during the Blitz in ‘Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid’, questions of war and peace pervade her writings. They are also central to Woolf’s Bloomsbury circle, exemplified in John Maynard Keynes’ The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Clive Bell’s Peace at Once and Leonard Woolf’s Quack, Quack!

While seeking proposals that address the European contexts and cultures of modernism between wars, we also encourage exploration of how these writings can help us think through what it might mean to create peace in Europe today amid various political, humanitarian, economic and environmental crises.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Bloomsbury and pacifism
  • Literature of the First and Second World Wars
  • The Spanish Civil War
  • The Armistice and Paris Peace Conference
  • Three Guineas and its legacies
  • International/transnational/cosmopolitan Woolf
  • Bloomsbury and the European avant-garde
  • Feminism, queer studies and LGBT+ politics
  • Empire, race and ethnicity
  • Woolf and continental philosophy/theory
  • European translations of Woolf and Bloomsbury
  • Ecological/environmental/economic crises
  • Violence, trauma and fascism
  • Bloomsbury and classical antiquity
  • Woolf across visual art, film, dance and music
  • Travel writing and European journeys

Abstracts of a maximum of  200 words for single papers and 500 words for panels should be sent to vwoolf2018@gmail.com by 1 February 2018.

This post is reblogged from The Charleston Attic.

We visited the Courtauld Gallery’s display of items from the Omega Workshops. The Workshops operated in London between 1913 and 1919 under the directorship of Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Gra…

Source: From Patterned to Plain: A Visit to the Courtauld Gallery Exhibition on Omega Workshops | The Charleston Attic

Cape Ann, Massachusetts, 1928. Bea is on the porch reading the book her cousin Rose has handed her, The President’s Daughter, which Bea describes as the trashiest book she’s ever read, though she can’t resist it. Rose, in turn, has picked up To the Lighthouse, and admits that she doesn’t understand it.

Bea had finished the book last week and had not stopped thinking about it but she did not think that understanding—the way Rose meant it—was its point. She understood that Mrs. Ramsay was her mother and that she, Bea, was “the sudden silent trout” pinned against the glass (if she read again she would see they were not pinned but “hanging,” but that was the difference between this kind of understanding and Rose’s), and Bea understood that the book as a whole was about her own life and that other people probably understood it to be about theirs. But her understanding in this way was vague—the book had stayed with her through the week like a glowing, invisible pet she could not risk touching. “I think it’s about memory,” she said. “And about how the present is always becoming the past, both in our consciousness of it and in reality. And about the confusion, or maybe the elision, between the two, and also between reality and a person’s vision of reality. Very little happens but a lot is happening. A character can stand with a foot on a threshold and her whole world shifts.”  Bea had not known how good it would feel to talk about the book. The only educated women she spoke with on a regular basis—club women she courted at benefits or after her speeches—talked about Virginia Woolf like Lillian and her friends fawned over Parisian silk. “Also, it’s about women and men,” Bea concluded, starting to worry that she was making little sense. “And whether or not the children will get to the lighthouse.”

Another sign of Anna Solomon’s homage to Woolf in Leaving Lucy Pear is the occasional appearance of references to a Nurse Lugton, who tended Bea when she experienced a mental breakdown. Oh yes, there’s a ceramic lighthouse too….

In an interview on NPR’s “Here and Now,” Anna Solomon said that Woolf was an important influence on her consciousness both as a writer and as a human being, that Woolf helped her find her own voice. She added that it gave her pleasure to have her character reading the work that she herself loved.

Woolf aside, I found this an interesting and well-written novel, an unusual and compelling slice of life.

Virginia Woolf readers and scholars from all over the world attended the Woolf conference in Reading, England, earlier this month — and two of them were from Italy, representing the new Italian Virginia Woolf Society.

I was happy to meet Elisa Bolchi, president of the new society, along with member Sara Sullam. And when I mentioned at the Saturday evening banquet that I would love to have one of the society’s lavender buttons, Elisa readily removed hers from her sweater and gave it to me. It is now one of my prized mementoes from the conference, particularly since I am of Italian heritage and will always be in love with Italia.

Here’s an update about the group provided by President Elisa Bolchi.

Elisa Bolchi and Sara Sullam, two members of the new Italian Virginia Woolf Society who attended this month’s Woolf conference in Reading, England. Elisa is the society’s president.

The Italian Virginia Woolf Society now has 84 members. We had our ‘vernissage’ event 13 June (Dalloway’s day!), in the garden of the International House of Women in Rome. The title was ‘Virginia Woolf: the sense of community’, and it was meant to introduce the aims of the Society. The speakers were the founding members: Nadia Fusini, Liliana Rampello, Iolanda Plescia and I.

We now have several events scheduled:

  • 5 October: we will be in Turin to present the Society. We are also planning four events in Turin related to this first presentation: three encounters dedicated to Woolf’s novels and one regarding her essays. We don’t have the dates set yet. We have been invited by the Readers’ Club of Turin.
  • 21 October: We’ll be in Bologna to speak of the “Current relevance of Woolf” in the beautiful conference room of the Salaborsa, the main public library in Bologna.
  • I’ll be also giving a PhD. lecture on the above topic in Perugia, at the end of October or the beginning of November (I don’t have the dates yet).
  • 24-26 November: 2nd edition of the Literary Festival “Il Faro in una stanza”, dedicated to Woolf.
  • For next Spring (probably March) we are planning our first conference, and the theme will be “Woolf and Community”.

Taking a group photo of Italian — and half-Italian — attendees at the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf banquet was a must. It includes Sara Sullam, Patrizia Muscogiuri, Paula Maggio, and Elisa Bolchi.

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