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Archive for March, 2015

Andre Gerard‘s three-part essay on Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse is nowto the lighthouse on Berfrois, the UK literary-intellectual online magazine. Here are the links:

  1. Names, Texts and WWI in To the Lighthouse
  2. The Odyssey, The Times and Howard’s End in To the Lighthouse
  3. Virgil, Tolstoy and War in To the Lighthouse

Also on the site is another essay by Gerard, publisher of Patremoir Press: Virginia’s Whipping Boy: The Strange Case of Virginia Woolf and Edmund Gosse

Ultimately, what I want to do is to think about To the Lighthouse as an antiwar novel, and to make the case that it is one of the greatest books ever written about the causes and consequences of war. – Gerard in “Names, Texts and WWI in To the Lighthouse

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Virginia Woolf Miscellany Winter 2015The most recent issue of the Virginia Woolf Miscellany, Fall 2014/Winter 2015 is now online.

This special issue of the Virginia Woolf Miscellany, edited by Kathryn Simpson and Melinda Harvey, focuses on Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield — a perfect complement to this year’s Woolf conference, the 25th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf: Virginia Woolf and Her Female Contemporaries.

Contributors are Hilary Newman, Patricia Moran, Susan Reid, Emily Hinnov, Maria J. Lopez & Gerardo Rodríguez Salas, Rose Onans, Alda Correia and Sandra Inskeep-Fox.

According to Vara Neverow, managing editor, the issue also features “truly miscellaneous” contributions including a woodcut of Virginia Woolf by Loren Kantor and essays by Xiaoqin Cao, Steve Ui-chun Yang, Anne Byrne, Daniel Jordon Varon and Erin M. Kingsley.

Book reviewers are Jane Fisher, Wayne Chapman, Ryan Weberling, Bonnie Kime Scott, Steve Ferebee, Maggie Humm and Peter Stansky.

The issue also includes detailed calls for papers for future issues of the Miscellany and a discount form for ordering the Selected Papers from the 24th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf: Writing the World in 2014.

Print copies of the issue will be mailed to subscribers and current members of the International Virginia Woolf Society in the near future.

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woolf_callforentriesNow is the time to get creative with paper, paint, scissors and ephemera. This year, a juried exhibition of small works on paper will be part of the 25th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, and the deadline for entries is April 20.

Works on paper (15” x 11” or smaller) in all traditional and experimental visual arts media, including photography, will be considered for the international exhibition, titled “Mark on the Wall,” which announces the opening of the Greenly Art Gallery at Bloomsburg University. Awards will be presented at the opening reception for the conference, which will be held June 4-7 at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pa.

Details are available online, along with the exhibition Call for Entries as a PDF.

 

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Florence GordonI just read Brian Morton’s latest novel, Florence Gordon, and loved his protagonist, a 75-year-old New York curmudgeon and intellectual, an activist and celebrated feminist author. A Woolf sighting was almost a foregone conclusion.

Florence’s granddaughter, Emily, visits from Seattle and takes a summer literature class at Barnard: “It’s gonna be great. Jane Austen. George Eliot. Virginia Woolf. What could be bad about that?”

Emily assists Florence with research for her memoir and becomes fascinated with her grandmother’s accomplishments. “A few weeks ago she’d read an article that Florence had written about Virginia Woolf. Woolf had said that the task of a woman writer was to kill off the ‘Angel in the House’: the part of oneself that was trained to put the needs of others, in every situation, before one’s own.” Emily later has occasion to reflect on this in a difficult situation of her own and in a personal challenge to her grandmother: “If a woman needs help but she doesn’t ask for it, isn’t she just playing the part of the Angel in the House?”

Morton has invoked Woolf in earlier novels. She appears to have a prominent place in his literary pantheon, as touchstones for his characters. In Starting Out in the Evening, grad student Heather Wolfe (!) wants to write her thesis on fictional author Leonard Schiller. Her advisor ranks Schiller as seventh-rate. “In Bonner’s scale of literary merit, Shakespeare and Tolstoy were first-rate; Dostoevsky and George Eliot and Proust were second-rate; Melville was third-rate; Henry James fourth-rate; Virginia Woolf fifth-rate. To be called seventh-rate was high praise.”

Heather is disappointed to find Schiller’s later work stale and is prepared to dismiss it to his age until she considers: “Certain writers managed to stay fresh, even in old age. Yeats and George Eliot she felt got better, stronger. “D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf may not have gotten better, but they continued to experiment restlessly as long as they lived.”

Virginia Woolf in old age? The implications are frightening, but I guess 59 is old to a 24-year-old grad student…..

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Today is March 8, International Women’s Day,  and three collections of inspiring quotes from mirror-on-facenotable women ranging from Coco Chanel to Gloria Steinem include a quote from Virginia Woolf — the same quote. Here it is:

Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of a man at twice its natural size.

Woolf on the day

The fact that International Women’s Day, was first celebrated in 1911, during Woolf’s time, led me to wonder: What did she think of the day? I did a quick scan of her published diaries, but could not find specific mention of it.

In her diary entry of March 8, 1918, one of only four entries I could locate for the actual date, Woolf was preoccupied with World War I, and she notes that she and Leonard had to take refuge underneath their kitchen table after guns and air raid whistles went off late the previous night (D1, 123-4).

There were two entries on March 8 in the 1930s. A two-line entry on March 8, 1932, mentions the fatigue that makes it impossible for her to finish edits of her 1928 article on Dorothy Osborne’s letters that will be included in The Common Reader: Second Series (D4, 80). On March 8, 1937, she was working on her feminist anti-war polemic Three Guineas (1938), but her diary entry for that date includes her observations about the people she spotted while on a walk and her dislike of private areas that forced her to walk along the road, beset by motor traffic, on a cold, damp day (D5, 66).

And Woolf’s diary entry for March 8, 1941, mentions that they are just back from Brighton, where Leonard Woolf has given a speech to the Workers’ Education Association, or WEA, on “Common Sense in History.” Virginia describes the place as being “Like a foreign town: the first spring day. Women sitting on seats. A pretty hat in a teashop–how fashion revives the eye!” (D5, 357).

International Women’s Day has a strong British connection. It uses the color purple as a nod to the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) of Great Britain’s adoption of the color scheme of purple, white and green to symbolize the plight of the Suffragettes.

More on the day

For 14 more inspiring quotes, read International Women’s Day 2015: Top 15 inspirational quotes on women empowerment. For 36 more, go here. Then get another batch.

This year’s theme for the day is “Make It Happen.” Share your empowering quotes, news or stories on social media using the hashtag #IWD2015 or MakeItHappen.

makeithappen

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Life-in-Squares-_3215726bLife in Squares, the BBC Two show that tells the story of the tangled relationships of the Bloomsbury Group from 1901 to 1945, will be on the air this year, shown as three 60-minute episodes.

The program was announced by the BBC last summer.

Filming also began last summer at Charleston Farmhouse, known as Bloomsbury in the country, for scenes set in the 1930s and 1940s. In the rooms where filming took place, much of the original collection was removed, and the art department improvised to make the place more bohemian than it may have been in real life. Domestic clutter that is part of the staging includes posed photographs of the actors based on old family photographs. Filming in London took place last fall.

Two actors play the role of each character in the show, which complicated the casting process. One bit of casting seems pitch-perfect: James Norton, the crime-solving vicar on Grantchester, will play Duncan Grant. Lydia Leonard  of Ambassadors will play a young Virginia Wolf and Phoebe Fox of Switch will star as a young Vanessa Bell.

Discussions with Vanessa’s granddaughter Virginia Nicholson were key in making the show a reality.

Life in Squares gets under the skin of the Bloomsbury group to lay bare the very human and emotional story of a group of people determined to find their own path in life,” said Lucy Bedford, executive producer.

“At heart, Life in Squares is about family: about the families we try to escape, the ones we end up creating and the different kinds of damage love can do,” she added.

 

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Leonard Woolf bust at Monk's House in Rodmell, Sussex, England

Leonard Woolf bust at Monk’s House in Rodmell, Sussex, England

The Leonard Woolf Society will hold its next meetings May 23 in London, and March 2016 in Sri Lanka, with details to be decided.

For more information, contact Surendra Paul, Chair, LWS, UK, at surenpaul@hotmail.com; Nathan Sivasambu/London/UK, at ns.bloomsbury@btinternet.com and AnneMarie Bantzinger/Bilthoven/The Netherlands, at ambantzinger@hotmail.com

Read more about the Leonard Woolf Society and its 2014 Symposium in the Winter 2015 issue of the Virginia Woolf Miscellany. Scroll down to Page 7.

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