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Whether we celebrate it June 20 or June 13, may we all think of Clarissa and Virginia in London today, as we arrange some flowers of our own, read some Woolf, and take a walk. 

Gemma at Flower Show

Gemma Arterton at the Chelsea Flower Show (image via IrishNews.com).

Preparations for the upcoming film Vita and Virginia are well underway. British actress Gemma Arterton, will play Vita Sackville-West in the film about the friendship between Vita and Virginia Woolf. Sackville-West was a celebrated gardener whose work continues to inspire gardeners today, so Arterton has been has been preparing for her role by gardening and spending time around flowers.

Arterton visited the RHS Chelsea Flower Show last month where she talked about her experience gardening and her work preparing to play such a respected gardener. The Irish News writes that Arterton became a “devoted gardener” while researching for the role in the film:

 

“I would like to be a big gardener and I am constantly trying to find new ways to bring it to life. I am moving house soon just so that I can have a garden.

“The role came before the passion. Vita was one of the world’s most famous gardeners, so I have been trying to get into the zone for that.”

andrea as woolf

Andrea Riseborough will play Virginia Woolf.

 

We learn from the article that filming will take place this summer at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent. The article also states that the role of Virginia Woolf will be played by Andrea Riseborough, which is different from the original cast that was announced, which had Eva Green lined up to play Woolf.

Riseborough has been featured in such films as Brighton Rock, Oblivion, and the Oscar winning film Birdman.

The director of the film, Chanya Button, has been preparing in other ways. In May she tweeted about attending lectures on the Hogarth Press at the Charleston Literary Festival:

 

Earlier this week, Blogging Woolf shared Elaine Showalter’s recommendation that June 13 is Dalloway Day, the day in June when Clarissa walked out to the buy the flowers herself in preparation for her party.

Read more about Mrs. Dalloway’s party paper dolls.

June 20 as Dalloway Day

Now an alternate date — and justification for it — has been shared as a comment on our original post and via the VWoolf Listserv. It comes from Murray Beja.

I might as well cite here some of my evidence for the date of June 20, which seems to me pretty clear cut. As I express it in my edition of Mrs. Dalloway, we explicitly learn that the day of the novel is a Wednesday, and that it is 1923; ?moreover, Clarissa wonders if the ?crush? of traffic is due to Ascot . . . which in 1923 ran from Tuesday, 19 June, to Friday, 22 June . . . . Gold Cup Day, on which the most coveted trophy is contested, falls on the Thursday. The results of cricket matches noted by both Septimus and Peter are those they would have seen in a newspaper for 20 June 1923 . . . .? (I go on to cite the London Times.) See Morris Beja, ed., Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Shakespeare Head Press Edition of Virginia Woolf). Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1996.

Dalloway Day celebration is June 17 in London

The Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain, in collaboration with Waterstones, (oh, why not Hatchard’s?) is holding a Dallowday celebration on Saturday, June 17.

 Virginia Woolf Life and London: Bloomsbury and Beyond by Jean Moorcroft Wilson

The event starts at 2:30 p.m. with a guided walk led by Jean Moorcroft Wilson, author of Virginia Woolf’s Life and London: A Guide to Bloomsbury and Beyond. The walk will visit sites relevant to Clarissa Dalloway and Virginia Woolf. It will be followed by a 4 p.m. discussion of Mrs. Dalloway (1925), led by Maggie Humm.

An early evening party with a 1920s theme will top off the day, beginning at 6 p.m. Organizers are hoping that partygoers will turn up in appropriate party wear.

The walk and talk are sold out but party tickets are still available at a cost of £10.

“Virginia Woolf was a babe”

The current fiction issue of The New Yorker (June 5 & 12) includes a story by Curtis Sittenfeld, “Show Don’t Tell.” The title—familiar advice to writers—is a tipoff that this is one of those “writers-writing-about-writers” stories, in this case an MBA from a renowned writing program writing about MBA students in a renowned writing program. (“Write what you know” is another of those pearls distributed to wannabe writers.)

Ruth and Bhadveer are discussing the possible recipients of a coveted and soon-to-be-announced grant that will go to four second-year students in their program. Ruth has heard that Aisha is a likely candidate, but Bhadveer thinks not.

“Aisha is gorgeous, right?” he asks. “Great literature has never been produced by a beautiful woman.”

Ridiculous, Ruth replies, and he challenges her to name one. The text continues:

“Virginia Woolf was a babe.” Of the many foolish things I said in graduate school, this is the one that haunts me the most. But I didn’t regret it immediately.

Bhadveer shook his head. “You’re thinking of that one picture taken when she was, like nineteen. And it’s kind of sideways, right? To obscure her long face. Why the long face, Virginia?”

Bhadveer dismisses a few others that Ruth suggests. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but there tends to be an inverse relationship between how hot a woman is and how good a writer. Exhibit A is George Eliot. It’s because you need to be hungry to be a great writer, and beautiful women aren’t hungry.”

Bhadveer is one of the grant recipients—we learn this early in the story, so it’s not a spoiler. Chauvinistic blowhards sometimes prosper (as we’re well aware these days). And Virginia Woolf was a babe who wrote great literature.

 

Was today, June 13, the day that Clarissa Dalloway headed out to buy the flowers herself? Elaine Showalter makes a case for that in The Guardian — and for the idea that Londoners and the rest of us should happily celebrate such a day in honor of Virginia Woolf.

Looking at the 1923 calendar, the critic Harvena Richter noted that 13 June is the most likely date. In his edition of Mrs Dalloway for the Oxford World’s Classics, David Bradshaw, finding a discrepancy in Woolf’s reference to a cricket game on that day, argued that the date of the party is an imaginary rather than a real Wednesday. Academics can argue over this fine point for ever. – Elaine Showalter, “Bring out the cardies and cocktails – it’s time we celebrated Dallowday,” The Guardian, 13 June 2017

 

 

A Press of One’s Own: Celebrating 100 Years of Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press,  a one-time event celebrating the centennial of the Hogarth Press held May 10 at Harvard University, was a big success, according to organizers.

The event was a sell-out and had a long waiting list for people who wanted to attend the workshops, seminar and the exhibition at the Houghton Library.

“In the aftermath of the workshops where we reenacted the Hogarth Press spirit and helped people understand the (high) stakes of letterpress publishing for Virginia Woolf and her circle, I held an interview with the Harvard-affiliated press master and the conceptual artist Ted Ollier who generously commented on what it might have meant for the Woolfs to print at home,” said Mine Ozyurt Kilic.

 You can read the interview online.

The International Virginia Woolf Society is pleased to host its 18th consecutive panel at the University of Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900,  Feb. 22-24, 2018. The IVWS invites proposals for critical papers on any topic concerning Woolf studies. A particular panel theme may be chosen depending on the proposals received.

IVWS Logo

Please submit by email a cover page with your name, email address, mailing address, phone number, professional affiliation (if any), and the title of your paper, and a second anonymous page containing a 250-word paper proposal to Kristin Czarnecki, kristin_czarnecki@georgetowncollege.edu, by Monday, Aug. 28, 2017.

Panel Selection Committee:

Beth Rigel Daugherty
Jeanne Dubino
Mark Hussey
Jane Lilienfeld
Vara Neverow

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