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Archive for November, 2013

Vulpes Libris

Jacob's roomAnd with that title, ladies and gentlemen, I have exhausted my sporting terminology. I hope it’s clear what it means; I recently read my friend and fellow-fox’s blog post about Arnold Bennett and Virginia Woolf (Bennett 1: Woolf:…) and thought, since Virginia Woolf is a few decades too dead for her right of reply, I’d stand up for my homegirl.

Virginia Woolf’s novels are often seen as the reserve of the professional academic, not for the common reader (although Woolf, of course, termed herself the common reader – after Samuel Johnson’s concept – for a couple of essay collections).  I was quite pleased, then, to see that someone with the enviable academic credentials Kate has under her belt fail to enjoy reading Jacob’s Room, if only because it seems to me to be a sort of proof by contradiction.  If a learned type can dislike Woolf, then…

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There’s still time to listen to a 15-minute BBC broadcast on “Women” that includes a quote from A BBC womenRoom of One’s Own (1929) and commentary on its discussion of women’s economic status and their right to work and to learn.

Sadly, though, the broadcast repeats the myth that Woolf never attended university, one that Woolf herself perpetuated. Christine Kenyon Jones and Anna Snaith dispelled that myth in 2010 when, after discovering Woolf’s King’s College records, they published an article titled ‘Tilting at Universities’: Virginia Woolf at King’s College London’” in volume 16 of the Woolf Studies Annual.

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I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past. ― Virginia Woolf

I just came across the above quote by Woolf and thought of how appropriate it is at this time of year. The overly busy holiday season is here, a time during which we develop new traditions and follow old ones, take lots of photographs and talk about the past — all while creating new pasts that we will “expand later,” as Woolf says.

 

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Gradhacker on Inside Higher Ed held a “Share your Workspace” contest in which graduate students could submit a photo of their workspace to vie for prizes. The theme was “Finding a Room of One’s Own” and blogger Kelly Hanson wrote:

It seems Virginia Woolf was right, again: to write productively, I need a room of my own.

The winners were announced yesterday. Fittingly enough, the winner of the first prize was  a workspace reminiscent of Virginia Woolf, as it featured a stand-up desk.

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SuchFriends Blog

While WB Yeats’ circle were busy organizing the Abbey theatre in Dublin, Virginia Woolf and her friends and family were reinventing art and literature in the townhouses of Bloomsbury and the country cottages of Sussex. Until The Great War intervened, the British sat in drawing rooms, talking over whisky, buns and cocoa, late into the night.

I will be giving a presentation about Britain 100 years ago, before the war, next Monday, 25th November, from 1 to 2 pm, at The Birmingham [UK]  & Midland Institute, Margaret Street, City Centre, http://bmi.org.uk/.

The BMI has agreed to waive the £2 non-member fee to anyone who uses the password ‘Such Friends’ when they arrive. So, if you’re in the area, come along and be sure to say hi. Maybe afterwards we’ll all have our own salon at a nearby pub…

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