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Archive for the ‘Bloomsbury Heritage Series’ Category

Paula Maggio:

Alice Lowe, contributor to Blogging Woolf, on her latest monograph in the Bloomsbury Heritage Series, “Virginia Woolf as Memoirist: ‘I am made and remade continually’”

Originally posted on Alice Lowe blogs ... about writing & reading & Virginia Woolf:

It’s a monograph: “a specialist work of writing on a single subject or an aspect of a subject, usually by a single author.” But indulge me–it has an ISBN, an International Standard Book Number, so let’s call it a book–a small book, but a book (we won’t trivialize it with “booklet” or “bookette”). Thank you!

That said, I’m happy to announce that Virginia Woolf as Memoirist: ‘I am made and remade continually’ has just been released by Cecil Woolf Publishers in London. This is my second inclusion in the Bloomsbury Heritage Series, which includes more than 70 publications about the lives and work of Virginia Woolf and others in the Bloomsbury group.

Cecil Woolf is the nephew of Leonard Woolf and the last living link to Virginia Woolf; he proudly points to Virginia’s mentions of him in her diary as “the boy with the sloping nose.” Cecil’s wife, Jean Moorcroft Wilson, is the general editor of the series…

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I am reporting on the absolutely fabulous, amazing, and incredible 25th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf hosted by the brilliant and scintillating Julie Vandivere and her devoted co-conspirators, including the intrepid and undaunted Erica Delsandro as well as the ever-present, deeply wise and dedicated Megan Hicks and Emma Slotterback and everyone else who worked so hard to create something so memorable and durable — a conference that is a gift to marvel over and recall with great pleasure.

Cecil Woolf, Jean Moorcroft Wilson and Vara Neverow at #WoolfConf15

Cecil Woolf, Jean Moorcroft Wilson and Vara Neverow at #WoolfConf15

The conference was truly a work of art in every possible sense. It was as if every piece of the conference was curated and placed exactly where it was supposed to be. (And Thursday evening at the conference also included an actual and truly lovely art exhibit/art competition where attendees imbibed delicious beverages and snacked on heavenly hors d’oeuvres while chatting and mingling and looking at the works.)

Brilliant papers, panels, plenaries

The papers, panels and plenaries were all inspiring and dynamic and brilliant. The opening reception was gracious and intimate. Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson arrived at the conference on Thursday with numerous copies of Bloomsbury Heritage Series pamphlets.

Bloomsburg itself was beautiful, as was the university campus, and the restaurants in the town were delightful. The performance of Septimus and Clarissa, with the playwright, Ellen McLaughlin, taking the part of the older Clarissa, was stupendous, and Mrs. Dalloway’s Party, which followed the performance, offered an abundance of tasty tidbits as well as hilarious opportunities for the attendees to try on a variety of vintage hats, activities resulting in many, many photographs. The food at the conference was abundant and delicious. At one break, mounds of whipped cream, fresh strawberries and sponge cake were served.

And the banquet itself was nourishing for both the mind and body, a wonderful chance for creating new friendships and spending time with those one sees so rarely. Jean Moorcroft Wilson interviewed Cecil Woolf at the banquet in a wonderfully playful but also quite substantive fashion — one of the many high points of the conference. And, as always, the Virginia Woolf Players read from Woolf’s works as the closing event of the gathering.

BU undergrad panel 2

Ashley Michler, undergraduate at Bloomsburg University, presents her paper.

Bonding near and far

The shuttle bus to and from Newark gave Woolfians coming from afar a chance to bond with each other on the journey. And the weather was, of course, perfect.

To have so many Woolfians gathered in one place is always a peak moment of the year for me and, I am sure, for many others. To also have at the conference, in keeping with its inclusive title, so many scholars who study Woolf’s female contemporaries was a superb new feature and one that clearly will influence future research and create new connections among the various interwoven webs that connect Woolf to other modernists.

That there were so many new faces was particularly lovely. The newcomers ranged from the modernist scholars to the high-school students who presented their papers with aplomb and confidence and from the graduate students who had never before attended this conference to the common readers who are always most welcome to join the Woolfian pack. Rumor has it that the annual Woolf conference is the very best first conference for graduate students because it is the most nurturing, and I can’t say I was surprised. But this one was particularly open to a range of participants.

Jane Marcus memorial

Conference participants had the opportunity to add their written tribute to Jane Marcus in a special journal.

Reflections on two scholars

In addition to all the ebullient excitement of the conference, there was also a time of reflection. At the Thursday evening reception, Jane Marcus was remembered. Linda Camarasana, Mark Hussey, Jean Mills, J. Ashley Foster, and Suzette Henke all spoke and shared with those present their memories of a formidable and magnificent Woolfian who, among her many achievements as a teacher and a friend and a scholar was bold enough to challenge the conventional perception of Woolf as an aesthete and a mad woman and was among those scholars who brought Woolf’s work and her feminism, socialism and pacifism into focus in ways that will continue to endure. Jane Marcus’s landmark works include Art and Anger: Reading like a Woman and Virginia Woolf and the Languages of Patriarchy.

Also remembered at the conference with sorrow and gratitude was Shari Benstock, some of whose most familiar works are Women of the Left Bank, Paris 1900-1940, Textualizing the Feminine: On the Limits of Genre and the co-edited A Handbook of Literary Feminisms. These two women truly shaped the way we read Woolf and her contemporaries. I was very glad that both were acknowledged.

See the conference on social media

For those of you who weren’t at the conference and would want to “see” it, you should check the social media. There have been lots of postings on the conference’s Facebook page, on the Blogging Woolf Facebook page and on the International Virginia Woolf Society Facebook page, as well as on the Blogging Woolf website. You can also go online on Twitter at https://twitter.com/hashtag/woolfconf15 or with the app at #woolfconf15 to see comments about the conference.VW books

Share your recollections with The Miscellany

Finally, for those of you who want to share your remembrances of Jane Marcus and Shari Benstock, I encourage you to send me your recollections for The Virginia Woolf Miscellany. I will be compiling these contributions to a section of a future issue. Remembrances of all aspects of the conference itself are also very welcome.

I am deeply grateful to all those who worked so hard to make this unforgettable conference possible. This was a truly stellar labor of love, and one that will always be cherished by those who attended.

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Cecil Woolf Publishers’ new monographs usually come out in June to coincide with the Annual International Conference on 2012 monographsVirginia Woolf, but publication of the 2012 monographs was delayed. Now, the long-awaited list of new volumes in his two series, the Bloomsbury Heritage and The War Poets, is here.

Bloomsbury Heritage Series

  • Virginia Woolf and the Spanish Civil War: Texts, Contexts & Women’s Narratives by Lolly Ockerstrom
  • Walking in the Footsteps of Michel de Montaigne by Judith Allen
  • Virginia Woolf as a ‘Cubist Writer’ by Sarah Latham Phillips
  • How Should One Read a Marriage?: Private Writings, Public Readings, and Leonard and Virginia Woolf by Drew Patrick Shannon
  • The Best of Blogging Woolf, Five Years On by Paula Maggio
  • Virginia Woolf’s Likes and Dislikes, Collected and Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Paula Maggio

The War Poets Series

  • Isaac Rosenberg, War Poet as Painter by Jean Moorcroft Wilson
  • T.E. Hulme: ‘One of the War Poets’ by David Worthington
  • Apollinaire: Poet of War and Peace by Jacqueline Peltier
  • Alan Seeger: the American Rupert Brooke? by Phil Carradice
  • Soldier Songs of the Second World War, selected and edited with an Introduction and Notes by Roger Press

See a complete list of the monographs in both of these series.

All of the books published by Cecil Woolf Publishers are available directly from:

Cecil Woolf Publishing, 1 Mornington Place, London NW1 7RP, England, Tel: 020 7387 2394 (or +44 (0)20 7387 2394 from outside the UK). Prices range from £4.50 to £9.95. For more information, contact cecilwoolf@gmail.com.

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Leslie Stephen and his daughter Virginia Woolf...

Leslie Stephen and his daughter Virginia Woolf 1902 (Photo credit: ADiamondFellFromTheSky)

It’s no wonder that Catherine Hollis noticed when the Nov. 26 edition of the Paris Review included an article on Leslie Stephen as montaineer. After all, she wrote a monograph for Cecil Woolf Publishers published in 2010 titled Leslie Stephen as Mountaineer: Where does Mont Blanc end, and where do I begin?’.

The Paris Review piece, “Peaks and Valleys: Leslie Stephen, Mountaineer,” was written by Alex Siskin, a Hollywood film producer with a passion for Leslie Stephen, Virginia Woolf and the writing of modernist women, according to Hollis. Thus, one can read a variety of posts on the topic of Virginia Woolf and her father on his blog, zhiv.

Just because Hollis wrote a monograph about Leslie Stephen as mountaineer doesn’t mean she is done with the topic. As part of the writing process, she “stumbled up his routes on Mont Blanc, the Rimpfischorn, the Schreckhorn (partially), the Jungfrau, and others between 2007 and 2011.”

And she has posted some of the stories of her climb on her blog, Downhill All the Way. There, you can experience much of the climb with none of the exertion.

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Here is a fun Woolf sighting that would have been buried in this week’s long list if Alice Lowe hadn’t called my attention to it with her comment.

Titled “Bloomsbury Heads West,” this short story published on the Seven Days website, transports Virginia Woolf to the 21st-century American West, where she appears in the form of a young woman named Darla who dresses, thinks, sounds and acts like Woolf. Vita Sackville-West, Vanessa and Clive Bell and Lytton Strachey appear as part of the gang as well.

Of course, it’s only natural that Alice would hone in on this sighting. As the author of Beyond the Icon: Virginia Woolf in Contemporary Fiction, No. 58 in Cecil Woolf’s Bloomsbury Heritage Series, she keeps her eyes peeled for just this type of thing.

Thanks for the alert, Alice!

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Since completing Beyond the Icon: Virginia Woolf in Contemporary Fiction, a monograph in Cecil Woolf Publishers’ Bloomsbury Heritage Series, I find that I’m still drawn to and fascinated by the discovery of more Woolf references and influences in both newly published books and going back a few decades.

I recently discovered a “new” writer, Jane Gardam, and am have been burrowing through her work with delight and, initially, with no thoughts of Woolf. Gardam is well known in Britain, having published more than 20 novels since 1971, but relatively obscure to American readers. That may change since the New York Times Book Review praised her latest, The Man in the Wooden Hat.

This book and its 2004 prequel, Old Filth (which stands for “Failed in London, Try Hong Kong”), are panoramas of two lives and a marriage from different points of view, startlingly so, as it turns out. Gardam writes vividly and beautifully, her characters are eccentric and fascinating, and the way she plays with time reminds me of Woolf, allowing past and present to weave through the narrative. Of course I started wondering what influence Woolf may have had on her writing and what she thought of Woolf.

Wanting to read more of her work, I picked up a couple of her earlier novels, and the link was established. Gardam’s name-dropping hints at a playful homage to Woolf as well as recognition of her prominence in the respective contexts of novels taking place during Woolf’s lifetime.

In Faith Fox (1996), a major character is Thomasina Fox. A confused woman refers to her as Thomasina Woolf, remarking that “She wrote The Waves, you know.” Crusoe’s Daughter (1985) starts with an epigraph from The Common Reader: “The pressure of life when one is fending for oneself alone on a desert island is really no laughing matter. It is no crying one either.”

Virginia and Leonard Woolf appear as guests at a Garsington-like manor house with gatherings of artists and aesthetes. The narrator observes new arrivals: “A melancholy brooding man and a very thin woman in old expensive clothes with the hem coming down, who was beautiful. Even her raggedness looked queenly. She was rather wild about the eyes which were in very deep caves in her face, and the corners of her mouth turned down in a desperately forlorn and anxious, yet sweet way.” They were identified as the famous Mr. and Mrs. Wolf (sic) and later referred to as the “dotty” Olympian Wolves.

I have a big stack of summer reading to occupy the months ahead, including more Jane Gardam. And part of the fun is that I never know when and where Virginia Woolf will appear.

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Still in the thralls of this year’s Conference on Virginia Woolf, which ended just three days ago, I have two anecdotes to share.

Both connect to Catherine Hollis, author of Leslie Stephen as Mountaineer: ‘Where does Mont Blanc end, and where do I begin?’, one of four Bloomsbury Heritage monographs published by Cecil Woolf Publishers this spring.

Here is the first. On the morning of the second day of the conference, I was sitting in the Fairfield Inn lobby sipping the truly bad coffee and trying to wake up.

Vara Neverow sat down to chat with me, and soon afterward, Catherine joined us. I had never met Catherine, but as soon as Vara mentioned Catherine’s penchant for mountain climbing, my still sleepy ears perked up.

“You’re the mountaineer,” I cried. “You’re Catherine. Hollis.”

“Yes,” she answered. “Who are you?”

“I’m weather,” I replied. And she immediately knew what I meant.

Of course, that sent us all into gales of laughter. No pun intended. And we told and retold that little story throughout the conference. But just in case any of you missed hearing it, I have repeated it here.

Now for the second tale, which Catherine shared with me today via e-mail. I will leave the telling to one of the participants, Catherine Gregg, author of Virginia Woolf and ‘Dress Mania’: ‘the eternal and insoluble question of clothes’, another of the monographs introduced by Cecil at the June conference.

Catherine has posted the story on the Bookslut blog, so I’ll just give you a teaser. Her tale involves a ratty dressing gown, a parcel of books, a bottle of wine and Cecil Woolf. Read on.

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