Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for July, 2017

This post is reblogged from The Charleston Attic.

We visited the Courtauld Gallery’s display of items from the Omega Workshops. The Workshops operated in London between 1913 and 1919 under the directorship of Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Gra…

Source: From Patterned to Plain: A Visit to the Courtauld Gallery Exhibition on Omega Workshops | The Charleston Attic

Read Full Post »

Cape Ann, Massachusetts, 1928. Bea is on the porch reading the book her cousin Rose has handed her, The President’s Daughter, which Bea describes as the trashiest book she’s ever read, though she can’t resist it. Rose, in turn, has picked up To the Lighthouse, and admits that she doesn’t understand it.

Bea had finished the book last week and had not stopped thinking about it but she did not think that understanding—the way Rose meant it—was its point. She understood that Mrs. Ramsay was her mother and that she, Bea, was “the sudden silent trout” pinned against the glass (if she read again she would see they were not pinned but “hanging,” but that was the difference between this kind of understanding and Rose’s), and Bea understood that the book as a whole was about her own life and that other people probably understood it to be about theirs. But her understanding in this way was vague—the book had stayed with her through the week like a glowing, invisible pet she could not risk touching. “I think it’s about memory,” she said. “And about how the present is always becoming the past, both in our consciousness of it and in reality. And about the confusion, or maybe the elision, between the two, and also between reality and a person’s vision of reality. Very little happens but a lot is happening. A character can stand with a foot on a threshold and her whole world shifts.”  Bea had not known how good it would feel to talk about the book. The only educated women she spoke with on a regular basis—club women she courted at benefits or after her speeches—talked about Virginia Woolf like Lillian and her friends fawned over Parisian silk. “Also, it’s about women and men,” Bea concluded, starting to worry that she was making little sense. “And whether or not the children will get to the lighthouse.”

Another sign of Anna Solomon’s homage to Woolf in Leaving Lucy Pear is the occasional appearance of references to a Nurse Lugton, who tended Bea when she experienced a mental breakdown. Oh yes, there’s a ceramic lighthouse too….

In an interview on NPR’s “Here and Now,” Anna Solomon said that Woolf was an important influence on her consciousness both as a writer and as a human being, that Woolf helped her find her own voice. She added that it gave her pleasure to have her character reading the work that she herself loved.

Woolf aside, I found this an interesting and well-written novel, an unusual and compelling slice of life.

Read Full Post »

Virginia Woolf readers and scholars from all over the world attended the Woolf conference in Reading, England, earlier this month — and two of them were from Italy, representing the new Italian Virginia Woolf Society.

I was happy to meet Elisa Bolchi, president of the new society, along with member Sara Sullam. And when I mentioned at the Saturday evening banquet that I would love to have one of the society’s lavender buttons, Elisa readily removed hers from her sweater and gave it to me. It is now one of my prized mementoes from the conference, particularly since I am of Italian heritage and will always be in love with Italia.

Here’s an update about the group provided by President Elisa Bolchi.

Elisa Bolchi and Sara Sullam, two members of the new Italian Virginia Woolf Society who attended this month’s Woolf conference in Reading, England. Elisa is the society’s president.

The Italian Virginia Woolf Society now has 84 members. We had our ‘vernissage’ event 13 June (Dalloway’s day!), in the garden of the International House of Women in Rome. The title was ‘Virginia Woolf: the sense of community’, and it was meant to introduce the aims of the Society. The speakers were the founding members: Nadia Fusini, Liliana Rampello, Iolanda Plescia and I.

We now have several events scheduled:

  • 5 October: we will be in Turin to present the Society. We are also planning four events in Turin related to this first presentation: three encounters dedicated to Woolf’s novels and one regarding her essays. We don’t have the dates set yet. We have been invited by the Readers’ Club of Turin.
  • 21 October: We’ll be in Bologna to speak of the “Current relevance of Woolf” in the beautiful conference room of the Salaborsa, the main public library in Bologna.
  • I’ll be also giving a PhD. lecture on the above topic in Perugia, at the end of October or the beginning of November (I don’t have the dates yet).
  • 24-26 November: 2nd edition of the Literary Festival “Il Faro in una stanza”, dedicated to Woolf.
  • For next Spring (probably March) we are planning our first conference, and the theme will be “Woolf and Community”.

Taking a group photo of Italian — and half-Italian — attendees at the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf banquet was a must. It includes Sara Sullam, Patrizia Muscogiuri, Paula Maggio, and Elisa Bolchi.

Read Full Post »

What: Reading Mrs. Dalloway
When: Saturday 16 September, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Stapleford Granary, Cambridge
Cost: £90/£75 students. Light lunch and tea and coffee provided.
Link: http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/dalloway

What:Gay UK: Love, Law and Liberty”, free exhibition at the British Library
Includes manuscript of Orlando and diary of Ottoline Morrell with three photos
When: June 2 through Sept. 19
Where: British Library, London
Cost: Free

What: Ali Smith and Gillian Beer: Reading and Conversation
A rare chance to hear these brilliant writers in conversation.
When: Sunday 12 November, 2-4 p.m. With a cup of tea. Stapleford
Where: Granary, Cambridge CB22 5BP
Price: £15
Link: http://www.literaturecambridge.co.uk/ali-smith/

Read Full Post »

First, there was the conference. Then came the party. In London. With the Woolfs.

On the Monday evening following days one, two, three, and four of the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson hosted a party in London for their visiting Woolfian friends who remained in town.

I was happy to be among them. But I was chagrined to arrive on their doorstep 20 minutes early due to lightning fast service by my Uber driver.

Cecil and Jean, however, didn’t blink when they answered my too-early knock. They ushered me in and escorted me up the stairs, past stacks of books from their Bloomsbury Heritage Series and a smattering of hats from Jean’s famous collection.

Cecil poured me a glass of wine and settled me in their persimmon-colored sitting room that is casually decorated with original Bloomsbury art by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It was magical.

Cecil and Jean are tremendous hosts who know how to make each guest feel specially welcome, no matter when they arrive. They created a wonderful evening full of camaraderie, good food, and drink, while introducing us to their daughter Emma Woolf, author of numerous books and a regular BBC contributor.

Afterward, when thinking about the evening, a quote came to mind that perfectly captures the mood and magic of the evening.

No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself. – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929)

Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson hosted a post-conference party at their London home, which also houses Cecil Woolf Publishers.

This side table decorated by Duncan Grant held appetizers, as well as my little Virginia. #travelswithvirginiawoolf

Cecil Woolf and daughter Emma Woolf at the party.

Louise Higham, Suzanne Bellamy, John McCoy, and Eleanor McNees (far right) were among the party guests.

A firescreen painted by Duncan Grant.

Bloomsbury art above the fireplace, along with a piece by Suzanne Bellamy and a photo of Jean.

Judith Allen and her husband Steve.

More Bloomsbury art.

 

Read Full Post »

Photography was forbidden at the Hogarth Press at 100 exhibit and archives tour that was part of the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf. Nevertheless, Nell Toemen of the Netherlands persisted, as did Clara Farmer from Chatto Wyndham. And that means I have two photos to share.

The first, from Nell, is a photo of the Hogarth Press archives stacks at Special Collections at the University of Reading, which includes a collection of documents related to the Hogarth Press founded by Leonard and Virginia Woolf in 1917. When I was on the tour, we were not permitted to take photos, but when Nell asked at a later tour, she was given the go-ahead. Afterward, she graciously shared her photo with Blogging Woolf.

Stacks showing a portion of the Hogarth Press archives at University of Reading Special Collections. Photo: Nell Toemen

The second photo is a screenshot from Clara Farmer’s Chattobooks Instagram account, which shows Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s worn travel satchels. Virginia’s has an Air France tag attached. As some have commented, it’s difficult — and interesting — to think of Virginia on an airplane.

Screenshot of Clara Farmer’s photo posted on Instagram of Leonard and Virginia’s leather travel satchels.

Read Full Post »

Our brilliant three and a half days of listening and discussing Virginia Woolf and the World of Books had a noisy ending this afternoon. We heard birdsong and RAF fighters overhead as Anna Snaith of King’s College London presented the final plenary: Virginia Woolf’s “Gigantic Ear.”

Anna Snaith

The combination of natural and mechanical sound came from a 1942 BBC broadcast of birdsong interrupted by 197 RAF planes that Snaith shared. The online recording helped her make the point that Woolf uses sound to great effect in Between the Acts (1941).

Afterward, many Woolf scholars and common readers moved on from the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf — some headed for their homes around the world, others continued their travels.

Chawton House Library

But the group of us who had signed up to go to Chawton boarded the bus to make the one-hour trip to this village in Hampshire.

Once there, we were able to visit Chawton House Library, located in a home once owned by Jane Austen’s brother Andrew and one that Jane visited regularly.

The main collection of the Chawton House Library, which can be explored using an online catalogue, focuses on women’s literature in English during the period 1600-1830, including rare early editions and some unique books.

Jane Austen’s House and Museum

We were also able to visit Jane’s own much smaller home down the road from Chawton House, the only house where Jane lived and wrote that is open to the public as a museum.

Jane Austen’s House Museum uses 41 objects throughout the house she lived in from 1809-1817 to tell the story of this classic British writer.

Our bus at the Chawton car park.

This way to Chawton House. That way to Jane Austen’s House.

Headed down the path to the Chawton House Library

Our group starts the tour of the Chawton House Library in the Great Hall.

A view of the grounds from a Chawton House window.

Just a few of the books on display at Chawton House.

Our first sighting of Jane Austen’s House and Museum.

A look at the garden at the Jane Austen House and Museum.

This is the tiny table where Jane Austen did her writing. Only the tabletop is original.

The rather small bed Jane Austen shared with her sister Cassandra.

This light-filled window in the bedroom Jane Austen shared with her sister Cassandra looks out over the herb garden and the outbuilding where the baking was done.

A group of Woolfians poses in the garden at Jane Austen’s House: Vara Neverow,  AnnMarie Bantzinger, Gill Lowe, and Stuart Clarke.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: