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Archive for December, 2019

Are you a feminist scholar? If so, you may want to know about two calls for papers offered by the feminist journal Signs: : Journal of Women in Culture and Society.

The 2021 Catharine Stimpson Prize for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship

The University of Chicago Press and Signs announce the competition for the 2021 Catharine Stimpson Prize for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship. Named in honor of the founding editor of Signs, the prize recognizes excellence and innovation in the work of emerging feminist scholars.

It is awarded biennially to the best paper in an international competition. Leading feminist scholars from around the globe will select the winner. The prizewinning paper will be published in Signs, and the author will be provided an honorarium of $1,000. All papers submitted for the Stimpson Prize will be considered for peer review and possible publication in the journal.

Eligibility: Feminist scholars in the early years of their careers (fewer than seven years since receipt of the terminal degree) are invited to submit papers for the Stimpson Prize. This includes current graduate students. Papers may be on any topic that falls under the broad rubric of interdisciplinary feminist scholarship. Submissions must be no longer than 10,000 words (including notes and references) and must conform to the guidelines for Signs contributors.

Deadline for Submissions: March 1, 2020.

Please submit papers online at http://signs.edmgr.com. Be sure to indicate submission for consideration for the Catharine Stimpson Prize. The honorarium will be awarded upon publication of the prizewinning article.

Signs Special Issue: Rethinking “First Wave” Feminisms

During the past several decades, scholarship in a variety of disciplines has challenged the “wave” model of feminism. Inspired by the 2020 centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, this special issue seeks to rethink “first wave” feminisms in a heterogeneous and expansive way—by pushing geographic, chronological, and ideological boundaries and by broadening the definition of whom we usually think of as early feminists. While contributions on the Nineteenth Amendment in the United States, and the suffrage movement worldwide, are welcome, the publication also encourages submissions that consider early manifestations of feminism and feminist movements in broad and global terms. Scholars from all disciplines are encouraged to submit their work.

The editors invite essays that consider the questions you will find here.

Deadline for submissions: Sept. 15, 2020. The issue will be guest edited by Susan Ware, general editor of the American National Biography and Honorary Women’s Suffrage Centennial Historian at the Schlesinger Library, and Katherine Marino, assistant professor of history at UCLA.

Please submit full manuscripts electronically through Signs’ Editorial Manager system at http://signs.edmgr.com. Manuscripts must conform to the guidelines for submission available at http://signsjournal.org/for-authors/author-guidelines/.

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A Virginia Woolf Word Portrait by Akron, Ohio artist John Sokol received as a Christmas gift in 2016. The words of “A Room of One’s Own” form her visage.

How did Virginia Woolf celebrate Christmas? What thoughts did that day bring to her mind? I thumbed through the edited versions of her diaries to find out.

Editor Anne Olivier Bell includes explanations of where Virginia and Leonard were at Christmas through the years. But while the edited diaries include three entries for days near Christmas, only two of Virginia’s entries were written on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Here is a synopsis of where the Woolfs spent Christmas from 1917 through 1940, along with what they did and what Virginia wrote.

1917: Leonard and Virginia are at Asheham for Christmas, the rented country house in East Sussex where they spent weekends and holidays from 1912 until 1919. (D1 93)

1916-1922: No mention of the Woolfs’ Christmas is included in Volumes I or II of the edited diaries.

1923: Leonard and Virginia spend Christmas at Monk’s House in Rodmell, Sussex, the 16th-century home they began occupying in 1919. (D2 278)

1924: The Woolfs are again at Monk’s House, arriving on Christmas Eve and bringing Angus Davidson with them. Virginia had collaborated with Quentin Bell to produce a Christmas Supplement to the Charleston Bulletin. It recorded scenes in the life of Duncan Grant. (D2 327)

1925: The Woolfs spend Christmas at Charleston, since Monk’s House is in the midst of alterations. Virginia and Quentin again collaborated on a written piece, this time depicting scenes from the life of Clive Bell. (D3 53)

Vanessa Bell painting of Woolf knitting in an armchair at Asheham

1926: Virginia and Leonard spend Christmas in Cornwall at Eagle’s Nest, Zennor with Ka and Will Arnold-Forster. (D3 119)

1927: The Woolf take the train from London to Lewes on Christmas Eve, then drive to Charleston. They spend three nights there before going back to Monk’s House. Vanessa and Clive are away, spending Christmas with his widowed mother in Wiltshire. (D3 169)

1928-1930: No mention of Christmas is included in Volume III of the diaries for these years.

1931: The diary for this year includes the only entry written on Christmas Day. It reads in part:

Friday Xmas morning

Lytton is still alive this morning. We thought he could not live through the night. It was a moonlit night . . . This may be the turn, or may mean nothing. We are lunching with the Keynes’. Now again all ones sense of him flies out & expands & I begin to think of things I shall say to him, so strong is the desire for life—the triumph of life…

Talk to L. last night about death: its stupidity; what he would feel like if I died. He might give up the Press; but how one must be natural. And the feeling of age coming over us: & the hardship of losing friends; & my dislike of the younger generation; & then I reason, how one must understand. And we are happier now. (D4 55)

1932-1935: The Woolfs are at Monk’s House for Christmas. In 1933, Vita Sackville-West and her two sons are guests for tea. (D4 133, 195, 266, 360)

1936-1938: Virginia and Leonard are again at Monk’s House. In 1936, they have lunch and tea with Lydia and Maynard Keynes, beginning a Christmas tradition. This year, the tea is at Tilton. In 1937, the Woolfs host lunch for the four of them. In 1938, tea is at Tilton and Christmas dinner at Charleston. (D4 44, 122, 193)

1939: The Woolfs are at Monk’s House and bicycle to Charleston in a fog for Christmas dinner. (D4 252)

1940: At Monk’s HouseVirginia pens a two-part entry dated Tuesday 24 December, which contrasts the soberness of life during wartime with the natural beauty of the countryside.The second portion reads in part:

[Later] 24th Dec. Christmas Eve, & I didnt like to pull the curtains so black were Leonard & Virginia against the sky…and then the walk by the wall; & the church; & the great tithe barn. How England consoles & warms one, in the deep hollows, where the past stands almost stagnant. And the little spire across the fields…

Yes, our old age is not going to be sunny orchard drowse. By shutting down the fire curtain, though, I find I can live in the moment; which is good; why yield a moment to regret or envy or worry? Why indeed? (D5 346)

The doorway to Virginia Woolf’s bedroom on a sunny July day at Monk’s House, Rodmell, Sussex.

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This news comes from the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain. Member Martin Ferguson Smith is the author or co-author of two new articles on pivotal figures in the Bloomsbury Group.

  1. “Clive Bell’s Memoir of Annie Raven-Hill”, English Studies 100 (2019), pp. 823-854. Illustrated. With Helen Walasek.
    The first publication of Clive Bell’s frank recollections of his first lover, the wife of the illustrator and cartoonist Leonard Raven-Hill. The affair began in 1899, when she was 35 and he not quite 18, and continued on and off until 1914, seven years after he married Vanessa Bell. The memoir, fully annotated and discussed by the authors, is published in good time for the centenary of the exclusive Memoir Club, founded on 4 March 1920. Click on http://doi.org/10.1080/0013838X.2019.1658944, then select PDF. Please note that the authors’ allowance of free views via this link is not unlimited.
  2. “A Complete Strip-off: A Bloomsbury Threesome in the Nude at Studland”, The British Art Journal 20, 2 (Autumn 2019), pp. 72-77. Illustrated. The first presentation and discussion of a remarkable collection of nude photographs, taken out of doors, of Vanessa Bell, Clive Bell, and Roger Fry at Studland, Dorset, in September 1911. Accessible online, by kind permission of the editor of BAJ, at (and only at) www.martinfergusonsmith.com under “MODERN, Articles” and “RECENT NEWS, NOVEMBER 2019”.

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Editor’s Note: Trudi Tate, director of Literature Cambridge, provided this piece for Blogging Woolf.

Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge

Woolfians are invited to join Literature Cambridge in summer 2020 for a rare opportunity to study Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (1925) alongside writing by some of her most interesting contemporaries.

Reading the 1920s, held July 26-31 at Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge, will provide a week’s intensive study, with lectures, seminars, supervisions, plus visits to places of interest in Cambridge.

Shaping the 20th century

Reading the 1920s explores some of the brilliant writers working after the First World War. The 1920s is a crucial period in the shaping of the entire twentieth century and its literature. It was an extraordinarily productive decade for Woolf: between 1922 and 1931 she wrote many of her greatest works: Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, A Room of One’s Own, The Waves, and more.

Woolf was familiar with the works students will study on this course. Some she knew very well, such as “The Waste Land” (1922) and A Passage to India (1924). She had mixed feelings about Lawrence, but admired the best of his work, noting as she finished The Waves that his writing gave her much to think about. We will study his powerful novella collection of 1923, The Fox, The Ladybird, and The Captain’s Doll, plus his joyous nature poetry in Birds, Beasts, and Flowers (also 1923).

Katrina Jacubowicz reads aloud at the summer 2019 Literature Cambridge course, Virginia Woolf’s Gardens.

Lecturers and topics

  • Alison Hennegan will discuss sexuality and censorship in the 1920s, focusing on The Well of Loneliness (1928). Why was this book by Radclyffe Hall censored while Woolf’s Orlando sold freely?
  • Peter Jones will explore the thinking of Forster’s Passage to India about India, Britain, and the campaign for Indian independence in the 1920s.
  • Trudi Tate will look at some powerful and poignant testimonies from the First World War.
  • Karina Jakubowicz will discuss Mrs. Dalloway and the social system that Woolf so criticized.

This course provides students with a great opportunity to study Woolf, Lawrence, Forster, and others together. The course aims to give a richer understanding of the writings of the 1920s, and of the turbulent history to which they bear witness.

Woolf’s Women July 19-24

Literature Cambridge also runs an intensive summer course on Woolf every year in July. In 2020, from July 19-24, the course will explore Woolf’s Women.

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The Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain will celebrate Virginia Woolf’s birthday on Saturday, Jan. 25, with its 21st annual Virginia Woolf Birthday Lecture featuring Claire Davison “Singing Songs of Sixpence? Virginia Woolf, Ethel Smyth and the languages of music.”

Tavistock Hotel

Davison is Professeur de Literature Moderniste, University Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris.

Lecture: 2 p.m; doors open at 1:30 p.m.
Location: MAL 532, Main Building, 5th floor, Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
Wine Reception: 3:15 p.m.
Location: Dining room, Tavistock Hotel, WC1H 9EU
Cost: £20 Virginia Woolf Society members/ students & concessions, £25 non-members. The price includes a wine reception at the Tavistock Hotel following the lecture and a printed copy of the lecture to be posted.

Tickets: For tickets, please apply to Lynne Newland, send cheques to 84 Waterman Way, London, E1W 2QW, giving email address for receipt of payment; or pay by BACS to Virginia Woolf Society GB, sort code 09-06-66; acct no 40411044. Bank Santander. Reference: initial/surname/BL e.g. LNEWLAND BL. If paying by BACS please notify Lynne at lynne@newlandmail.com.

Accommodations: The Tavistock Hotel is offering a 20% discount for Virginia Woolf society members. Please quote society event and membership number. The group’s contact is Tony Smith, Operations Manager.

 

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This is the third in a new series of posts that will offer a global perspective on Woolf studies, as proposed by Stefano Rozzoni at the 29th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf. If you would like to contribute to this series, please contact Blogging Woolf at bloggingwoolf@yahoo.com.

The road to Cincinnati is not long or arduous if you are starting out from downtown Toronto. In fact, it’s nearly a straight shot: taking the 401 West and crossing into the US at Windsor, the I75 South will lead you to your destination after eight or nine hours. I know this because it is the route I took to Woolf and Social Justice: The 29th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, which was held at Mount St. Joseph University this past June.

Speeding towards any other conference, this long and unchallenging trek of highway might have provided an extended opportunity for me, a fourth-year PhD candidate, to stress over the paper I’d be delivering, and the many people I would soon need to meet (and impress). This was not my travel experience to this conference, however.

How come? The answer to that question begins with my acceptance into the conference program last February, and explains a good deal about the hearty welcome I received from all in Cincinnati.

There was, most welcome of all, a summoning together…

Shortly after sending word that I would indeed be presenting, conference organiser Drew Shannon (MSJ) contacted me personally via Facebook Messenger to ask if I had any questions or concerns about the coming gathering.

An enthusiastic first-time conference-goer hopes that his T-shirt will gain him entry to the Woolfians’ inner circles.

Over the course of our chat, I found myself provided not simply with logistical answers, but with a good idea of the Woolfians I would meet there (Jean Moorcroft Wilson! Cecil Woolf!), and anecdotes about Drew having enjoyed a London breakfast at their table—the same one that Woolf herself had used to set the Hogarth Press edition of Eliot’s The Waste Land.

I can’t say that I have ever been personally contacted by a conference organiser, and I had certainly never had one welcome me into the fold so enthusiastically. This, I’ve since gathered, was something that Drew did time and again in the months preceding our in-person meeting. The effort he exerted to make us first-timers feel welcomed (before, during, and after the conference) is to be commended, and, I would suggest, imitated by those in a similar position who dare try.

“All hope abandon, ye who enter here” (Dante), as seen on the entry to the stacks at Cincinnati’s Mercantile Library

As fate would have it, Cecil’s final illness prevented him and Jean from attending the conference, and, as I recently remarked to another Woolfian, the couple’s absence had a marked presence on the goings-on that was perceptible even to a first-time Woolf-goer like myself. I like to think that this was possible because of the excellent scholarship and better fellowship on offer at the IVWS’ historical conferences, the latest incarnation of which I experienced first-hand at VW29.

For example, a blending of the scholarly and the social was to be found at the ‘world premiere’ of Leonard Woolf’s closet drama The Hotel, which can safely be classified as a conference-wide effortWhile it was acted in MSJ’s large auditorium by Drew’s infamous Woolfpack, the performance’s numerous fourth-wall breaks and plentiful helping of cheek saw the whole audience participating in the evening’s entertainment.

Similarly, the wine and cheese reception at the city’s historic Mercantile Library is not an event whose rich setting and intimate conversation I will soon forget. Nor will I forget the successive evenings where conference attendees gathered in MSJ’s dorms to sip boxed wine, eat stale pizza, and discuss all things Woolf-related (and a few that were not).

Papers given on all kinds of books, hesitating at no subject however trivial or however vast…

The bard gazes (with contempt?) at a bookshelf asking who composed his life’s works, Mercantile Library

On the academic side of the equation, my interest as a scholar of the Great War was piqued by the panels on Woolf’s pacifism and war-legacies, and by my co-presenters in “Woolf, War, and Social Justice”: Charlotte Fiehn (Texas) and Chelsie Hoskins (Miami).

But variety was the name of the day (or week). For example, I attended M. Rita D. Viana’s (Universidade Federale de Santa Catarina) paper on differing translations of Orlando into Brazilian Portuguese. This small panel, which also included Scott Stalcup (Northern Illinois), initiated a discussion I found irresistible, despite the fact that I know no Portuguese and had never read Orlando (an oversight that I have since remedied).

The plenary talk on Woolf in the era of #MeToo meanwhile made an excellent argument for grounding transformative justice in storytelling, while panels throughout the week did not shy away from highlighting Woolf’s own race- and class-inflected blind spots when otherwise praising her activist writing.

By getting to know the group that had shared 28 such experiences (more or less) with Jean and Cecil, over the course of VW29 I gradually came to understand why they were so affected by the couple’s absence.

For it was the middle of June. The conference was over…

The author’s first GIF: MSJ’s gargantuan flag flying proudly on a quiet June night

Finally, for all that the people Drew gathered may have had in common, and even in light of their long shared history together, it cannot be said that they were a uniform crowd. Participants ranged in experience from senior undergraduates to retired faculty, with a healthy sampling from every stage in between (and an especially robust helping of graduate students).

What’s more, these participants came to Cincinnati from the world over—I have fond memories of sharing an American buffet-breakfast with two Brits, an Indian dinner with Brazilians, a meditation on MSJ’s massive American flag with an Irishwoman, and a number of similarly memorable conversations with Americans (and Canadians!) who might have started their weeks anywhere from coast to coast to coast. Variety indeed!

As I wound my way back to Ontario, this time driving north-east around Lake Erie, I found myself once more with time for reflection. I had learned quite a bit at Woolf and Social Justice, made some friends (“networked”), and had an unforgettable experience to boot. While it may not be practical or even possible for me to attend this conference’s successors every single year, I’m certain that I’ll find my way back amongst this group before too long, whatever winding road it may be that takes me there.

The only picture the author managed to take of himself at VW29, replete with a thumb in the upper-left corner.

Sean A. McPhail is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Toronto. His research (primarily) concerns the relationship between kinship and commemoration in the war-writings of Siegfried Sassoon.

Read more in the series:

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