Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Bloomsbury’ Category

Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury is a book about Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s pet marmoset that they adopted in 1934 and took with them when they visited Berlin in 1935. And it is now available on Amazon, with the e-book selling for $1.99 and the paperback $11.19.

At that price, I couldn’t resist adding the Kindle version to my Woolf collection, even though I already own the hardcover version published by Harper Flamingo in 1998.

Author Sigrid Nunez drew on memoirs, letters, diaries, biographies, and her imagination to write this mock biography that is said to pay homage to Woolf’s Flush.

Accolades from reviewers

According to reviewers, it “offers a striking look at the lives of writers and artists shadowed by war, death, and mental breakdown, and at the solace and amusement inspired by its tiny subject.”

This new edition includes an afterword by Peter Cameron and a never-before-published letter about Mitz by Nigel Nicolson.

It was also named one of NPR’s best books of 2019. Here’s what NPR had to say in its review:

Mitz captures the heartrending downside of love and connection — loss. But it also reminds us, beautifully, of the “great solace and distraction” of literature.

At this time in history, as in the late 1930s, we can all use some solace, as well as some distraction.

Read Full Post »

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”.

Read Full Post »

Charleston

Henrietta Garnett, daughter of Angelica and David Garnett and granddaughter of Vanessa Bell, died Sept. 4 of pancreatic cancer.

She grew up at Charleston, and of it she said:

 

Charleston had the most powerful identity of any place that I had known. It reeked of itself: of turpentine and toast, of apples, damp walls and garden flowers. The atmosphere was one of liberty and order, and of a strength which came from its being a house in which the inhabitants were happy…

Read a tribute to her posted by her cousin, Virginia Nicholson, president of the Charleston Trust, and her obituary in The Guardian.

Read Full Post »

We have already followed Virginia Woolf to locations at Newnham College, King’s College, and the Fitzwilliam Museum during our time at the Literature Cambridge course Virginia Woolf’s Gardens.

But today, the first overcast, drizzly day since we arrived, we went off on our own. We made a trek to nearby Grantchester — and two other spots in Cambridge we just discovered.

The Orchard

Virginia Woolf, along with Maynard Keynes and E. M. Forster, was a member of the Bloomsbury Group and a member of the Grantchester Group as well. Focused around poet Rupert Brooke, who lived in the picturesque Grantchester, the latter group met at Orchard House there, where Brooke is said to have hosted wild parties.

The original pavilion of The Orchard still exists, and one reaches it via a long path from High Street surrounded by a quiet green lawn dotted with apple trees and dark green deck chairs grouped around tables.

An outdoor display board tells the story of the Grantchester Group. Indoors, photos and a display case of Rupert Brooke books, photos and memorabilia, tell his story. Photos of other writers and celebrities, including Woolf, cover the walls.

Byron’s Pool

The river Cam runs through Grantchester Meadows, which includes Byron’s Pool. In the early 1900s a group of Cambridge undergraduates and their friends, dubbed the neo-Pagans, bathed there, according to the University of Cambridge website.

Rupert Brooke and Virginia Woolf are also said to have swum naked by moonlight at Byron’s Pool in 1911. Today, cars on the M11 roar past that spot.

Now one must be a member to obtain access to pool, as entry is not granted without a key. But a gracious friend of someone affiliated with the Literature Cambridge course drove us down the nearest Cambridge road behind the pool, and we snapped a photo of the field that fronts it.

One warm night there was a clear sky and a moon and they walked out to the shadowy waters of Byron’s Pool. ‘Let’s go swimming, quite naked,’ Brooke said, and they did. – Rupert Brooke: A Biography by Christopher Hassall (1964)

The Porch

Also in Cambridge, we found The Porch at 33 Grantchester St., the home of Caroline Emilia Stephen, Woolf’s aunt. Her niece and Woolf’s cousin, Katharine Stephen, was a librarian and later the Principal at Newnham College, where Woolf gave her “Women and Fiction” talk in October 1928.

Both Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell stayed with their aunt at The Porch when they visited their brothers Adrian and Thoby during May Week at Trinity College. Woolf herself made “formational visits” to her aunt, who she sometimes called “the nun,” from 1904 to 1906. Virginia and Adrian also lived with Stephen for a period of time in 1907, after Vanessa’s marriage to Clive Bell.

As Jane deGay writes on the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies Blog: “[Caroline] Stephen played a key role in helping Virginia Woolf distance herself from patriarchal ideologies by developing a radical approach to religion and spirituality that was deeply feminist.”

A Quaker, it was this aunt who at her death in 1909 left Woolf the £2,500 inheritance that gave her a modest income of her own. The amount indicates the special relationship she had with Woolf, as she left Adrian and Vanessa just £100 each.

Sign directing visitors to The Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester, where Virginia Woolf drank tea with Rupert Brooke and others.

The original pavilion where Woolf and others met for tea on rainy days

Sign noting the literary significance of the original pavilion at The Orchard

Information board outside the pavilion noting members of the Grantchester Group, which included Virginia Woolf

Just two of the photos lining the walls inside the pavilion. Woolf’s is on the right.

Past this field of grasses and wildflowers and the stand of trees beyond sits Byron’s Pond, where Woolf and Brooke went skinny dipping.

The Porch, 33 Grantchester Rd., Cambridge, the home of Woolf’s Aunt Caroline Emilia Stephen. Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell stayed here.

Closeup of the home’s sign, identifying it as The Porch

 

 

Read Full Post »

I’d heard the rumor — that a Virginia Woolf “collage” could be spotted in the ladies room of London’s Tavistock Hotel. But I did not expect what I actually found.

Tavistock Hotel in Bloomsbury, London

I went in search of the hotel’s unusual homage to Woolf after the 28th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf in June at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England.

The clerk at the Tavistock’s front desk directed me to the lobby level ladies room, where I expected to see a lone framed Woolf collage on the wall near the door or the sinks.

Loo decor

I found something entirely different. The wall behind each toilet in each ladies room stall was decorated with a long framed graphic featuring Woolf and her works. Each was cut to feature a different element of her work.

Luckily, the ladies room was unoccupied when I entered, so I was able to take a photograph of each stall. However, some of my photos are a bit tipsy, due to the fact that I had to prop each stall door open with my foot while hurriedly snapping individual pictures.

I made sure to include the commode and toilet tissue roll in the photo when I could manage it, as evidence that this Woolf sighting actually took place in a loo. 

 

The hotel’s Woolf & Whistle serves light meals and beverages.

Traditional afternoon tea is also offered at the Tavistock Hotel’s Woolf & Whistle.

 

About the Tavistock

Blue plaque honoring Virginia and Leonard Woolf installed to the left of the front entrance of the Tavistock Hotel.

The hotel is famous because it is built on the site of Virginia and Leonard’s flat at 52 Tavistock Square, in which they lived from 1924-1939.

A blue plaque commemorating that fact was unveiled on the exterior of the building in April.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: