Archive for December, 2015

Join blogger Heavenali for a #Woolfalong in the new year. 24059707566_42fe92f7c0_o

Starting tomorrow and running throughout 2016, readers will choose six books — or more, if desired — by or about Virginia Woolf for their reading pleasure.

Here are the guidelines for every month of the year, with readers choosing their favorites for each:

January and February – Read a famous Woolf novel, such as To the Lighthouse (1927) or Mrs. Dalloway (1925).

March and April: Read Woolf’s beginning and ending novels, The Voyage Out (1915) or Night and Day (1919) or Between the Acts (1941).

May and June: Read any of her shorter fiction, such as a collection of short stories. Possibilities include:

  • Kew Gardens (1919)
    Monday or Tuesday (1921)
    A Haunted House and Other Short Stories (1944)
    Mrs. Dalloway’s Party (1973)
    The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf (1985)

July and August: Read a biography, either one written by Woolf — Flush (1933), Orlando (1928), or Roger Fry: A Biography (1941) or a biography of Virginia Woolf.

September and October: Read some of Woolf’s nonfiction. Heavenali mentions either Woolf’s essays or diaries, but I would add her letters to the list.

November and December: Read another novel, such as The Years (1937) Jacob’s Room (1922) or The Waves (1931).

When sharing your reading experience on social media, use the hashtag #Woolfalong.

Blogger Heavenali pledges to post six #Woolfalong discussion-style entries, one every two months, where links to other posts can be shared. Meanwhile, a Woolf discussion has already begun.

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woolf course

Can it get any more exciting than this? Literature Cambridge is offering a summer course on Virginia Woolf this July.

Here is the information that Trudi Tate, Director of Literature, Cambridge, and a lecturer at the summer course, sent Blogging Woolf, along with fee details I copied from the website:

Summer Course: Virginia Woolf in Cambridge, 18-22 July 2016

Literature Cambridge offers specialised summer courses in the beautiful university city of Cambridge. In 2016, our special author course is on Virginia Woolf. This is a rare opportunity to immerse yourself for five full days in Woolf’s writings and her context.

Each day we will have an expert lecture, followed by questions and discussion. On four days, there will be a Cambridge-style supervision. Students work in pairs, discussing the text of the day for an hour with an experienced Cambridge supervisor.

Susan Sellers will be a lecturer at the Cambridge summer course.

Susan Sellers, author of Vanessa and Virginia (2009), is one of several lecturers at this summer’s Literature Cambridge course.

There will be guided excursions to places of interest, including Girton and Newnham Colleges (where Woolf gave talks that became A Room of One’s Own), Grantchester (where Woolf met Rupert Brooke), and Bloomsbury in London.

In the evenings there will be literary readings or talks, as well as time to read further, explore Cambridge, and to reflect.

In 2016, we will be based in Homerton College, a lovely Victorian campus with beautiful large gardens, 10 minutes by bus from the city centre. Students live, take classes and take most of their meals in college, with opportunities to explore the rest of Cambridge. (It is also possible to come as a non-residential student: see the website.)

There are no prerequisites, but students must be over 18. At present we do not have the capacity to offer undergraduate credits, but we will explore this for 2017 and beyond if there is a demand.

I am really delighted to offer this unique opportunity to study Woolf in depth in the company of Woolfians from all over the world – teachers, students, scholars, and ‘common readers’. We are all her common readers and I look forward to working with you.


The course fee of £875, covers lectures, supervisions, course materials, excursions and talks. The residential fee of £570, includes six nights bed and breakfast (ensuite), four evening meals, plus one formal dinner. Non-residential students are welcome; evening meals and formal dinner may be paid for separately if desired.

An early bird discount of 5% will be offered for those booking by 15 January 2016.

More details

For more information, email info@literaturecambridge.co.uk

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Read more about this tile that Vanessa Bell gave her sister, Virginia Woolf, for Christmas in 1926,at Abe Books. It is priced at close to £100,000.

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Mendocino FireElizabeth Tallent’s new story collection, Mendocino Fire, deserves the praise it’s received in reviews. The stories, all set along the northern California coast where she lives, are imaginative, innovative and compelling explorations into the human condition.

As it’s her first book of fiction in more than twenty years, I dove into her stories with glee and found a happy surprise in “Eros 101.” Opening with a faculty dinner, we learn that:

“The evening’s covert (and mistaken: you’ll see) premise is that the newly hired Woolf scholar will, from her angelic professional height and as homage to VW, scheme to advance all female futures….”

Written in an essay question format, the responses disclose the encounter of said Woolf scholar, Clio Mirsak, with tenure-seeking junior faculty member Nadia, whom she refers to as “the Beloved.” The attraction is immediate and consuming but not reciprocated. The story, with its challenging construction, is clever, funny and touching. Woolf pops in and out of the narrative both directly and covertly.

A phrase from Woolf: “’Reality’ … beside which nothing matters.” (Help—can someone tell me the source of this quote?)

Unwelcome thoughts of her mother interject themselves into Clio’s fantasy: “The memory stamps out several little wildfires of desire … Just try thinking back through this woman.”

In a recent interview Tallent cites Woolf as one of her influences and among the novelists she teaches in her fiction writing classes at Stanford, so it’s no surprise that she would evoke Woolf for her feminist scholar protagonist. It was a great addition (number 86) to my ongoing list of Woolf sightings in fiction and a marvelous story collection from start to finish.

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Mona Zimen, an artist in Bavaria, Germany, recently notified the VWoolf Listserve that she has created an outdoor bronze sculpture of Virginia Woolf. Along with her notice, she sent photos of the bust that she had taken in her garden.

Here is her message:

Because of my research in the Internet over Virginia Woolf I suspect that there is a sculptural monument only of one artist so far and also for me as a sculptress. I had the big personal wish to portray her. During the last months I created a sculpture for outside in the size for a big garden, park or a public place.

Woolf bust 2

copyright by Mona Zimen

Woolf bust

copyright by Mona Zimen

This is not the first bust of Woolf to be sculpted in recent years. Valentina Mazzei created a bronze bust of Woolf in 2010 that was displayed at the 20th Annual International Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf: Woolf and the Natural World that year.

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A three-page letter written by Virginia Woolf to Philip Morrell will be auctioned this week by British auction house Dominic Winter Auctioneers.

Woolf Morrell Letter

Pages 2 and 3 of Woolf’s letter to Morrell (photo from The Guardian)

According to an article in The Guardian by Alison Flood, the letter, written on blue paper with black ink and dated July 12, 1940, is an “exciting” piece which is set to fetch between $1,500 and $2,000:

Chris Albury at Dominic Winter, which has a guide price of £1,000-£1,500 on the letter, said that “any letter from Virginia Woolf is exciting, and there is always a mystique concerning any that might illuminate the tangled relationships of any of the Bloomsbury group and Garsington Manor set”. The Morrells lived at Garsington Manor in the 1920s, with Woolf a regular visitor.

woolf and philip morrell

Photo of Woolf and Philip Morrell in 1926 shot by Lady Ottoline Morrell

Philip Morrell
was a British Liberal politician who was married to literary hostess and muse Lady Ottoline Morrell. The Morrells both had close friendships with Virginia, and both expressed amorous feelings for her throughout their friendships.

In the letter, written eight months before her suicide, Woolf responds to news of Philip’s illness and urges him to “go on living.” From The Guardian:

“My dear Philip, I was so glad to get your letter,” writes Woolf, “Indirectly I’d heard of your illness, and was wanting more news. You must take up your lodging on the ground floor, and go on living. Far too many of my friends have given that up lately.”

She goes on to tell him that she is living in Sussex; the letter was written on 12 July, shortly after the start of the Battle of Britain, and Woolf says that she is “exposed to raids, but in the air and with flowers, rooks, gulls, and our lovely view”.

Woolf letter to philip closing lines

Photo of the last lines of the letter (photo from The Guardian)

Dominic Winter Auctioneers provides a description of the letter:

Autograph letter signed ‘Virginia Woolf’, Monks House, Rodmell, Lewes, 12 July [1940], to Philip [Morrell], glad to have had his letter having indirectly heard of his illness and wanting more news, telling him to take up lodging on the ground floor, ‘and go on living. Far too many of my friends have given that up lately. I am so glad you liked that little article. In fact, Hary-o herself isn’t a patch on some of those great ladies – for example, her cousin Lady Lyttelton; so I picked out Selina [Trimmer] by way of making a story of it. I agree: there’s a richness about the Pagan word entirely lacking in the Puritan… ‘, telling how they are living mostly down here in Sussex, ‘exposed to raids, but in the air and with flowers, rooks, gulls, and our lovely view’, saying that they do go up to London every other week and asking to come round one evening, the final paragraph enquiring on the latest of his memoir or sketch of Ottoline [Morrell], 3 pages, black ink on blue paper, lightly creased where folded, 8vo

View the auction catalog for more information on the auction and letter.

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Here is a collection of some of the latest Woolf sightings from around the Web, as recently shared on the Blogging Woolf Facebook page.

  1. Reviewers name Adeline one of the top reads of the year. http://bit.ly/1IBvrdmwoolf_200
  2. Feminist punk choir Gaggle gives performance centered on famous women’s speeches, including Virginia Woolf. http://bit.ly/1NtBBZ2
  3. Peter Mendelsund’s 2014 book, What We See When We Read, asks the reader to consider the geography of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. http://bit.ly/1OKprhS
  4. Virginia Woolf mentioned in “The World-Changing Power of the Flu” in the Oct. 21, 2015, issue of The Wall Street Journal. http://www.wsj.com/…/the-world-changing-power-of-the-flu-14…
  5. The Great British Dream Factory: The Strange History of Our National Imagination, by Dominic Sandbrook, disses Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group because of what he deems their snobbery, according to this review. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f5f1fe6a-8899-11e5-90de-f44762bf9896.html
  6. Rebecca Solnit’s Harper’s article on why interviewers won’t stop asking accomplished women about the fruit of their loins, rather than the fruit of their minds. http://harpers.org/archive/2015/10/the-mother-of-all-questions/?single=1
  7. I Call Myself a Feminist, collection of short essays, includes quotes from Virginia Woolf. http://bit.ly/1N44Gyq
  8. Virginia Woolf included in registery listing where everyone was on 29 September 1939 http://www.newstatesman.com/politics
  9. Just a few degrees of separation between Virginia Woolf and Jack the Ripper. Really. http://www.casebook.org/au…/interviews/deborah-mcdonald.html
  10. Virginia Woolf mentioned regarding the transformative effect of illness http://brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/gyms-the-wellness-orthodoxy-and-the-virtues-of-ill-health/
  11. Virginia Woolf sexts from The New Yorker​. http://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/the-collected-sexts-of-virginia-woolf-and-vita-sackville-west?mbid=social_twitter
  12. Black Rat by Cole Closser takes a simple cartoon archetype – the black rat of the title – and turns him into a funny book version of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. http://bit.ly/1YoLAYw




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