Archive for May, 2009

Big BenIn honor of its 150th birthday, celebrated today, Big Ben is undergoing a spring cleaning.

Maintenance of the London timepiece involves winding it three times a week and keeping it oiled.

The bell was cast in April 1858 and was first rung in the clock tower May 31, 1859.

As readers know, the chimes of Britain’s favorite monument are featured in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway.

Watch the news video of the noteworthy birthday.

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A portion of the Woolf library reassembled by Andrew McCarthy and Nora Wiechert, doctoral candidates in English literature at WSU

A portion of the Woolf library reassembled by Andrew McCarthy and Nora Wiechert, doctoral candidates in English literature at WSU

Sorry, but after reading an e-mail from Trevor James Bond of Washington State University, I can’t get a 1979 Peaches and Herb song out of my head.

The song is “Reunited,” and its chorus starts out like this, “Reunited and it feels so good. Reunited ’cause we understood.”

The song applies because Bond’s message shares the news that the collection that once made up Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s library, which was interspersed with WSU’s other rare book collections and shelved by Library of Congress Subject Headings in 1978, will be reunited and grouped together in its own space at WSU this summer.

The move will make it easier for researchers to browse the volumes once owned by the Woolfs. You can read more about the collection here.

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Virginia Woolf lookalike?

Virginia Woolf lookalike?

In a review of the film Easy Virtue, Martin Murrow says actress Kristin Scott Thomas, who plays the role of Mrs. Whittaker, looks like Virginia Woolf.

What do you think?

Take a look at the accompanying photo. Then take the poll.

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writing-2Ah, yes. Once again we are shown Virginia Woolf’s relevance to our 21st-century world. Gretchen Rubin quotes Woolf in her Huffington Post piece “Thirteen Tips for Actually Getting Some Writing Done.”

Here’s the Woolf quote Rubin shares: “The way to rock oneself back into writing is this. First gentle exercise in the air. Second the reading of good literature. It is a mistake to think that literature can be produced from the raw.”

Okay then.

  • Exercise to get the endorphins flowing. Check.
  • Fresh air to get the oxygen flowing. Check.
  • Reading the excellent words of another to get the creativity flowing. Check.

Sounds like a good plan to me. 

For more inspiration read the whole post.

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auctionUp for auction in West Sussex this Sunday is a rare 19th-century photograph of Virginia Woolf’s mother, Julia Stephen, the former Julia Jackson.

It was taken by her aunt, the celebrated photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.

Bids are expected to fall between £1000-£1500.

Read the full story and view the photo on the BBC Web site.

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Reading the Skies

Reading the Skies in Virginia Woolf

Two Bloomsbury Heritage monographs, including one of my own, will debut at Woolf and the City, the 19th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf — and a third is in progress.

Cecil Woolf Publishers of London is the publisher.

The monographs making their first appearance at the June 4 to 7 conference at Fordham University — and afterward — are:

  • Reading the Skies in Virginia Woolf: Woolf on Weather in Her Essays, Her Diaries and Three of Her Novels by Paula Maggio, number 54 in the Bloomsbury Heritage series.
  • Virginia Woolf: A Musical Life by Emilie Crapoulet, number 50 in the series.
  • How Should One Read a Marriage? Private Writings, Public Readings, and Leonard and Virginia Woolf by Drew Patrick Shannon will be published later this year.
VW: A Musical Life

Virginia Woolf: A Musical Life

Reading the Skies saw its first incarnation as a paper written for a graduate class taught by geology professors Dr. Alison J. Smith and Dr. Donald F. Palmer in the Master of Liberal Studies program at Kent State University. The class, which focused on the impact of climate change from the time of the Little Ice Age to the present,  required that we write a weather-related paper.

I was an English major, not a science major, as an undergraduate, so I immediately searched for a literary connection. I did not have far to look.

How Should One Read a Marriage?

How Should One Read a Marriage?

One of our texts was Briane Fagan‘s The Little Ice Age: Prelude to Global Warming 1300-1850. In it, he describes the frost fairs held on the River Thames during the years of the Little Ice Age. In a flash, I thought of Woolf’s descriptions of Orlando and Sasha skating feverishly across the Thames in her 1928 novel Orlando.

From there, I was on the hunt for anything written about Woolf and weather. Amazingly enough, I found nothing. Thus began my own study and analysis.

In Reading the Skies, I explore Woolf’s characteristically English fascination with the vagaries of the nation’s weather and its effect on culture. I also discuss weather’s influence on Woolf and her writing, including her theories about the role weather could and should play in fiction. Finally, I discuss how she carried out her theories in three of her novels, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse and Orlando.

I invite you to pick up a copy of Reading the Skies and Virginia Woolf: A Musical Life at the Woolf conference at Fordham for the special conference price of $9. They — along with other monographs in the Bloomsbury Heritage Series — will be available at Cecil Woolf’s book display near the registration table in the Lowenstein Plaza Lobby. Here is the full conference schedule. 

Then stay tuned to Blogging Woolf for news about the publication of How Should One Read a Marriage? We will announce its availability here.

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i will buy flowers myself inviteWho would have thought that Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway would inspire the design of a mini hot plate?

But that is just what the novel did for Nika Zupanc. It allowed the young Slovenian product designer to imagine a kitchen hot plate that does not look like one. Her mini hot plate looks like a woman’s powder compact instead. And in honor of the novel that inspired it, the hot plate is named “Mrs. Dalloway.”

The “Mrs. Dalloway” mini hot plate was part of the I Will Buy Flowers Myself exhibit on display at Salon del Mobile Milan 2009 in April. It was inspired by the stories of some of the most famous female literary heroines, according to Zupanc.

Other items in the surreal collection, which was introduced by a giant polka-dotted doll house, include a Lolita lamp, a Scarlet table and tray, the Unfaithful Feather Duster and the Silent Brotherhood of Slightly Arrogant Cradles.

See them all here. Read more about Nika Zupanc.

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