Archive for February, 2010

I had the best of intentions, but I didn’t give myself enough time. That is why I have not finished my re-read of Virginia Woolf’s The Waves.

As a result, I won’t be able to plunge into the Woolf in Winter discussion of the novel led by Clare on Kiss a Cloud. But I can stick my toe in the water. So here it goes.

During the past few days, I worked my way through the early years of Woolf’s six characters: Jinny, Susan, Rhoda, Neville, Bernard and Louis.

When I left them last night, all six were on their way home from boarding school for the summer holiday. Each was looking forward to something different. Susan was longing to be back in the country. Jinny was picturing herself as an independent young woman. Louis fancied himself a poet. And so on.

What struck me so far was how beautifully and accurately Woolf captured the minds and moods of children on their way to being grown-ups. The innocence, the complications, the wretched insecurities, the brave dreams, the pleasures and the pains of childhood can all be found in Woolf’s poetic words.

In the novel, Woolf outlines each character. Then she fills in the details in the same way that the pointillist painting provided by Kiss a Cloud does.

From a distance, the dots in a pointillist painting may seem alike. But up close, each one is different. In a similar way, young children may seem alike from a distance. But up close, each one is unique.

Woolf looks at her six children up close. She bends her knees to look at the world from their perspective. She tells their six stories from the shifting vantage points of children on their way to adulthood. She understands the way they think and feel.

What I take away from these first few chapters of The Waves is that despite her own childlessness, Woolf got kids in a way that few adults do. That’s just one more thing to like about her.

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The deadline for the A Room of Her Own Foundation‘s Spring 2010 Orlando Prize is Feb. 28.

Four $1,000 Orlando Prizes for Creative Nonfiction, Short Fiction, Poetry, and Sudden Fiction will be awarded.

The competition is open to women of all nationalities. All applications must be written in English and submitted online. Winners will be announced April 15.

Since its beginning, A Room Of Her Own Foundation has expended $603,204 on behalf of creative women through its $50,000 Gift of Freedom awards, scholarships, retreats, day conferences, public readings, the AROHO Book Club, and its customized Web-based resource center.

AROHO has hosted more than 250 women writers at retreats that feature a world-class faculty, and has sponsored approximately $50,000 in scholarships for women writers to attend its retreats as well as other intensive writing programs.

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© National Portrait Gallery, London

Virginia Woolf will be among 61 writers whose portraits will be part of a National Portrait Gallery exhibit that will tour England, beginning this spring.

The exhibit, called “Writers of Influence: Shakespeare to J.K. Rowling,” will open in Sheffield in April, and will travel to Southampton, Plymouth and Sunderland.

From what I can tell, Woolf’s portrait is one painted by her sister, Vanessa Bell, in 1912.

The exhibition will make the following stops:

  • Museums Sheffield: Graves Gallery from April 17, a move that is generating controversy because it comes right after officials voted to shut down a city library
  • Southampton City Art Gallery from July 23
  • Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery from Oct. 16
  • Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens from Jan. 29, 2011.

Other writers whose portraits are included in the exhibit include William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, George Orwell, Enid Blyton, Lewis Carroll, Agatha Christie, John Lennon, JK Rowling, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, punk pioneer Lydon aka Johnny Rotten, David Bowie, Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey, Winehouse and recent Brit Award winner Dizzee Rascal.

As a side note, Woolf’s photographic portrait by George Charles Beresford is among the top 20 best selling post cards sold at the National Portrait Gallery.

Read more about the exhibit.

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Write quickly. You have less than a week to submit your piece on “Woolf and the Natural World” for the Fall 2010 issue of the Virginia Woolf Miscellany.

The Miscellany is seeking articles examining the natural world–gardens, landscapes, animals, ecology, etc.–in Woolf’s life and writing.  Articles addressing teaching Woolf and nature are also welcome.

The theme is the same as that of the 2oth Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, which will be held June 3-5 in Georgetown, Ky.

Articles of no more than 2,500 words should be sent via e-mail attachment to kristin_czarnecki@georgetowncollege.edu.

According to the Miscellany’s Web site, the publication was founded by Dr. J. J. Wilson, now emerita professor of English at Sonoma State University in California. The first issue was published in fall 1973. The publication now resides at Southern Connecticut State University.

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When I first read about Woolf in Winter, I planned to reread all four novels and participate in all the discussions. I regret that I have failed in my mission.

If you are in the same predicament, links to the online discussions we missed are below.

But please note that we still have a chance to redeem ourselves — albeit with one of the most challenging of Virginia Woolf’s novels, The Waves. The online discussion begins a week from today, on Friday, Feb. 23. You can join Clare and other Woolf readers at Kiss a Cloud.

I plan to put Simone de Beauvoir’s The Mandarins aside for the moment and ride The Waves for the next week. Won’t you join us?

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The European Journal of English Studies has issued a call for papers on the topic of contemporary gender resistance to be published in volume 16.

Guest editors for the special issue, which will be published by Routledge in 2012, are Eugenia Sifaki and Angeliki Spiropoulou.

Background Information: Socio-historical developments that have characterised the turn of the present century, such as increasing globalisation, migration and transnationalism, new technologies, the growth of the beauty industry and the medicalisation of the body, as well as various initiatives in equality and human rights legislation, have ushered in new conditions of experiencing and thinking subjectivity.

This issue seeks to interrogate the new experiences and conceptualisations of gender and sexualities that have been part of these transformations. Specifically, notwithstanding the assimilation of traditional feminist demands in official cultural discourses, what new forms of resistance to conventional gender discourses, categories and practices, and inversely, what novel manifestations of resilient gender asymmetries have emerged in this allegedly ‘post-feminist’ era?

The editors invite contributions that address the modes in which contemporary Anglophone literary, visual and popular culture refract and respond to the question of gender and sexualities today.

Themes that could be addressed include, but are not restricted to:

  • novel gender formations and experiences in contemporary Anglophone literature and culture
  • gender and genre
  • the response of contemporary women writers to the gender conditions of the 21st century
  • gender and racial, ethnic and religious minorities, transnational communities and diasporas
  • new ways of performing gender gender
  • sexualities and the law
  • reproduction and new reproductive technologies
  • reconfigurations of gendered private and public spaces
  • developments in theories of gender and sexuality

Proposals: Detailed proposals (1,000-1,500 words) for articles of c. 5-6,000 words, as well as all inquiries regarding this issue, should be sent to both guest editors: Eugenia Sifaki at evsifaki@gmail.com and Angeliki Spiropoulou at aspirop@uop.gr.

Deadlines: The deadline for proposals is 15 September 2010, with delivery of completed essays by 31 March 2011. The issue will appear in 2012.

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In celebration of Virginia Woolf’s Un-Birthday and International Women’s Day, the Shakespeare’s Sister Company is hosting a Tea Party and Book Swap in proper British Style, and you are cordially invited.

The event will be held at Lady Mendle’s, 56 Irving Place, between 17th and 18th streets in New York City.


Save the Date:  Saturday, March 6

Patrons will enjoy the following:

7 – 7:30 p.m.:  Tea and Mingling
Enjoy an assortment of teas, a buffet of tea sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and jam!

7:30 – 8:10 p.m.:  Literary Book Discussions
Each guest will introduce the title/author of the book, one sentence describing what the book is about, an interesting fact about their favorite part of the book and what kind of book they are looking to swap for.

For those who prefer not to speak, we will provide ink and paper for you to write down your details and an SSC member would be happy to read it aloud on your behalf. We’re all friends here.

8:10 – 8:30 p.m.:  Literary Book Swap
Guests will have the opportunity to trade their book as many times as they’d like. Additionally, the SSC will provide a program listing all of the books being traded for patrons to reference.

8:30 – 9 p.m.:  Tea and Mingling
Enjoy an assortment of teas, a buffet of tea sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and jam!

Our event concludes at 9 p.m. However, patrons are welcome to migrate downstairs to the martini bar and heated outdoor garden for cocktails.

Regarding attire, please come dressed in your British best.  Dresses and suits are encouraged. Hats and gloves are not required, but are encouraged.

All-inclusive admission runs $35 per person.

RSVP by Feb. 26.

Payments shall only be accepted in advance either via PayPal to info@shakespearessister.org or by check to: Shakespeare’s Sister Company, 455 Ocean Parkway, ste 3D, Brooklyn NY 11218.

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