Archive for December, 2009

If you live in the Midwest, as I do, January might be the time to take a trip to the Chicago area. Why? The Bloomsburries are coming.

The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University will host the exhibition A Room of Their Own: The Bloomsbury Artists in American Collections.

The exhibit, which focuses on the work of Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry, Duncan Grant and Dora Carrington, will be on display at the Evanston, Ill., museum’s main and Alsdorf galleries from Jan. 15 to March 14. Admission is free and open to the public.

Get the details about the exhibition. View digital images of works from the exhibition online.

The museum and other Northwestern entitities have also scheduled a variety of related events and programs, many of which are free. They include:

  • Docent-led tours of the exhibition at 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from Jan. 16 to March 14.
  • A four-part Saturday matinee series at Block Cinema that begins at 2 p.m. Jan. 16 and runs through Feb. 20. Two of the four films are free. Admission for the other two is $6 for the general public and $4 for Northwestern faculty, staff and students.
  • A three-part Bloomsbury lecture series starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, that includes discussions of Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster and John Maynard Keynes.
  • A 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, performance of Eileen Atkin’s play “Vita & Virginia,” which is adapted from correspondence between Woolf and Vita Sackville-West.
  • The Arts of Crafts” hands-on workshop at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, for families with children ages 6 to 10.
  • A 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, book club discussion on Woolf’s classic feminist polemic, A Room of One’s Own.
  • A day-long academic symposium, “New Looks: The Social Life of Art and Design in Bloomsbury,” scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27. It will present fresh and diverse scholarship on Bloomsbury art and design, covering topics ranging from the decorative arts, fashion and social dancing to literary responses to architecture and painting, according to the museum Web site.
  • A companion exhibition, “Only Connect — Bloomsbury Family and Friends,” will run from Jan. 14 to April 30 at Northwestern University Library of Special Collections, 1970 Campus Dr. It will explore the Bloomsbury group as a network of friends and families.
  • The Alumnae of Northwestern University will present a 10-week continuing education course, “The Bloomsbury Era Revisited,” Jan. 7 to March 11.  The non-credit afternoon course is open to the public. It will be taught by Northwestern faculty at Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Dr. More information is available online.
  • A 6 p.m. Thursday, March 11, gallery talk on the exhibition by Block Museum curator Corinne Granof.

If you want to bone up on the main figures of the Bloomsbury group, you can read “Ten Characters In Search of a Group: A Sketch of Bloomsbury,” written by One-Soon Her, here.

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Sarah, Emily, Frances and Claire are four readers who have come up with a novel idea this winter.

No pun intended. Really.

The four bloggers have extended an open invitation to join them in a wintertime group read and online discussion of four Virginia Woolf novels in two months.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Jan. 15: Conversation about Mrs. Dalloway, led by Sarah.
  • Jan. 29: Conversation about  To the Lighthouse, led by Emily.
  • Feb. 12: Conversation about Orlando, led by Frances. 
  • Feb. 26: Conversation about The Waves, led by Claire.

Dozens of bloggers have already signed on to participate in the conversation. You can, too. Just subscribe to the comment feed for the original invitation post: “Woolf in Winter: An Invitation.”

Read more about the plan on the Nonsuch Book blog under the heading “Woolf in Winter: The Conversation Starts Soon.”

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Hannah Teare is a London-based fashion stylist whose credits include Virginia Woolf.

Yes, the fashion editor for the society magazine Tatler was the stylist for a series of five fashion shots named after Woolf. I’m not sure why they bear Woolf’s name, but I’ll try to come up with some connections.

In four of the five, the model is posed outdoors in country settings. Could be Sussex. In the fifth, she curls up in a narrow bed. Could be Clarissa Dalloway’s — or Woolf’s own at Monk’s House.

In each photo, the dark-haired model is dressed in fashions that range in color from deep purple to periwinkle blue, but in my opinion, only one of the outfits seems a likely bet for Virginia.

My choice features a long embroidered jacket that looks like something Vita may have brought back from Turkey, a mid-calf-length skirt with what might be a bit of slip peeking beneath the hem and sensible shoes that seem capable of tramping about the South Downs.

The photos, taken by Hyung-Won Ryoo, were published in Tatler.

You will find more about Woolf and fashion here.

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Two of Virginia Woolf’s novels helped inspire a new dance that premiered late last month in Bangkok.

Contemporary dancer Setsuko Yamada, one of the leading figures in dance in Japan, premiered the solo dance piece “Wearing Rose Pink” at the Patravadi Theatre on Nov. 27 and 28.

It was described as a “dance on the poignancy and elegance of life” and compared to “a dainty piece of china.”

While Woolf conveys the inner consciousness of her characters through words, Yamada is known for her ability to  “transform her inner consciousness and memory into movements.”

She said the dance was inspired by Woolf’s novels To the Lighthouse and The Waves and Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World.”

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A Christmas card designed by Bloomsbury artist Duncan Grant is the earliest one on display in a show of artists’ Christmas cards at Tate Britain through Feb. 1.

Grant’s signed card dates from 1913 and features a “stripey” pattern said to be borrowed from Matisse. But I found the flip side of the card reminiscent of Edvard Munch as well. You can view side one and side two of the card on the Tate’s Web site.

The Art Journal of the Taipei Times has an amusing overview of the Tate Christmas card show that includes images of clever cards from years past. You can also read the same piece, complete with links to additional sources, here.

If you have time, consider taking the Tate’s Bloomsbury Archive Journey offered online. It includes written correspondence among Bloomsbury artists and an audio interview with Grant, friend of Virginia Woolf and John Maynard Keynes. Not knowing that this audio clip existed, listening to it took my breath away.

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Whatever holiday you celebrate, you may need a last-minute gift idea for a favorite reader. Here are a few books that could suffice. The bonus is that each has a Virginia Woolf connection, however slim.

  • Writers’ Houses is a book produced by Francesca Premoli-Droulers that includes wonderful photographs of the homes of writers. Those of Vita Sackville-West and Virginia are included. Read more.
  • A Truth Universally Acknowledged: Thirty-Three Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen, edited by Susannah Carson, includes Virginia’s thoughts about the great novelist of Regency England. She is among 33 authors whose opinions are included in this volume, published by Random House. Read more. And check out a post about the book on a super Austen blog I just discovered, Jane Austen’s World.
  • The newly released The Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume Two: 1923-1925 includes letters from Virginia. It is edited by Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton and published by Faber Faber. Volume Two is being published simultaneously with the revised edition of Volume One of the letters, which covers the years from 1898 to 1922. Read more.
  • A new translation of  The Second Sex By Simone de Beauvoir replaces all of the original material removed by its original translator. This material includes long extracts from works by Virginia Woolf, Sophie Tolstoy and Colette, among others. Translators Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier Jonathan Cape also corrected mistranslations of philosophical terms and punctuation. These changes, along with the replacement of approximately 15 percent of the original content — particularly from sections on history and literature — are said to make a meaningful impact for readers interested in gaining greater understanding of Beauvoir’s views on women’s lives. Read more.

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Mark Hussey sent out an alert on the Woolf list-serv that the children’s book, Anastasia at This Address (1991), by Lois Lowry, has a character in it named Septimus Smith.

I checked it out at the library and read it with pleasure, while engaging in some nostalgia as I thought back on some of the books I read in my “tween” years. I wish I’d had the Anastasia Krupnik series—she’s a bright and adventurous role model for girls.

As for my Woolf quest, there was no clue to any other identity for this Septimus, also known as Tim, a well-to-do New York bachelor who places a singles ad to which Anastasia responds. I contacted Lois Lowry through her Web site, and she responded that there are no other Woolf references in the series, but in one of the earlier books – Anastasia Again! (1981) – there’s a Gertrude Stein. She explained her motivation when writing the books:

“I remember taking a certain amount of private pleasure in inserting references that kids wouldn’t notice—or care about if they did—but which from time to time, adults pick up on. Of course a 12 or 13 year old girl won’t get that. But they read right past it. And maybe sometime years later they will encounter Gertrude Stein, or Septimus Smith … and a little light bulb will illuminate.”

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