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Archive for the ‘Cecil Woolf’ Category

Cecil Woolf, nephew of Leonard and Virginia Woolf, died one year ago today at the age of 92. Family and friends will gather to toast him tonight at 7 p.m. London time. May we all raise a glass to Cecil, wherever we are at whatever time we see this.

To Cecil!

Cecil Woolf and his wife Jean Moorcroft Wilson at their home in London, June 2017. Cecil was the founder and publisher of Cecil Woolf Publishers, a small London publishing house in the tradition of the Woolfs’ Hogarth Press, as well as a tremendous mentor and friend to many, including Woolf scholars around the globe.

Emma Woolf with her father Cecil Woolf

Cecil Woolf stops at 46 Gordon Square, London, while giving Blogging Woolf a personalized tour of Bloomsbury in June 2016.

Cecil Woolf, accompanied by his wife Jean Moorcroft Wilson, talks about being “A Boy at the Hogarth Press” at the 100th birthday party for the Hogarth Press in June 2017 in Reading, England.

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Five radical women writers living in a square in a London neighborhood. The square is Mecklenburgh. The neighborhood is Bloomsbury. And one of the women writers is Virginia Woolf.

The book that tells the story of the five independent women writers who lived in Mecklenburgh Square at various times between the two world wars is Francesca Wade’s Square Haunting: Five Women, Freedom and London Between the Wars, just published by Faber & Faber.

Besides Woolf, the women Wade discusses include detective novelist Dorothy Sayers, modernist poet Hilda Doolittle (known as HD), the maverick classicist Jane Ellen Harrison, and the economic historian Eileen Power.

The publisher’s website describes the book this way:

Francesca Wade’s spellbinding group biography explores how these trailblazing women pushed the boundaries of literature, scholarship, and social norms, forging careers that would have been impossible without these rooms of their own.

And one reviewer called Woolf “The presiding genius of this original and erudite book,” describing her “essay ‘A Room of One’s Own’ [as] provided the rallying cry, whether consciously or not, for five remarkable women, all drawn at some point in their careers to Bloomsbury’s Mecklenburgh Square.”

Glowing reviews

I plan to obtain a copy of Square Haunting and review it here. After all, Mecklenburgh Square has a special meaning for me, as it is one of the Woolf sites I visited in 2016 when Cecil Woolf, Virginia and Leonard’s nephew who passed away last June, led me on a six-mile walking tour of Bloomsbury. It was a most memorable day.

For now, though, here are a few quotes from the glowing reviews of Wade’s first book that have already been published online.

Wade’s book rises above the publishing cliches to tell a deeper story about women’s autonomy in the early 20th century, about their work and education, politics and activism. What emerges is an eloquent, pellucid, sometimes poignant study of five female intellectuals, each of whom disdained convention to fulfil their potential as thinkers and writers. – Review by Johanna Thomas-Corr, The Guardian

It is a pleasure to fall into step with the eloquent, elegant Wade as she stamps the streets of literary London. I would give a copy to every young woman graduating from university and wondering who and how to be … There is much to inspire. – The Times Literary Supplement

Wade is adept at evoking the gritty texture of the times, taking us seamlessly from the interior lives of her subjects into the world they inhabited and back again. – Ariane Bankes, Spectator

The site of the building in Mecklenburgh Square in which Virginia Woolf lived. Cecil and I paused here during our 2016 tour of Bloomsbury.

 

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Kind. Gentle. Tough. Those were the words used to describe Cecil Woolf in the Camden New Journal story reporting on the Oct. 19 memorial service held in his honor at St. Peter’s Church in Belgravia, London.

Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson at their home in London, June 2017.

About 150 friends, relatives, colleagues, and admirers attended the service for Cecil, the oldest living relative of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, who died June 10 in London at the age of 92.

Claire Nicholson, chair of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain, and Vivien Whelpton of the War Poets Association spoke, as did his widow, Jean Moorcroft Wilson. Each recalled Cecil’s work as a a gentleman, a publisher, and an advocate for social justice.

More memorials in print

Issue 95, the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of the International Virginia Woolf Society’s Miscellany will include a special section devoted to Cecil.

In addition, a paper based on the panel “The Woolfs, Bloomsbury, and Social Justice: Cecil Woolf Monographs Past and Present,” which was presented at the 29th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, has been accepted for publication in the two-volume conference proceedings. Published by Clemson University Press, each volume will include 16 essays.

Retitled “The Woolfs, Bloomsbury, and Social Justice: the Ongoing Legacy of Cecil Woolf Publishers as an Advocate for Social Justice,” the paper will be co-written by:

  • Karen Levenback (Franciscan Monastery). Introduction to Cecil Woolf Publishers
  • Lois Gilmore (Bucks County Community College), “A Legacy of Social Justice in Times of War and Peace.”
  • Paula Maggio (Blogging Woolf), “Cecil Woolf Publishers: Using the Power of the Press to Advocate for Peace.”
  • Todd Avery (University of Massachusetts, Lowell), “Just Lives of the Obscure: Cecil Woolf, Biography, and Social Justice.”
  • Vara Neverow (Southern Connecticut State University) Respondent

This photo of Cecil Woolf as a young lance-corporal fighting in Italy in the Second World War was used on the cover of the Order of Service at his Oct. 19 memorial service.

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Cecil Woolf with his 2017 monograph, “The Other Boy at the Hogarth Press.”

A special section devoted to Cecil Woolf, who died June 10 in London, will be included in Issue 95, the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of the International Virginia Woolf Society’s Miscellany. Here is the call for papers:

Call for Papers: A special section devoted to Cecil Woolf will be included in Issue 95, the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of the International Virginia Woolf Society’s Miscellany.

If you would like to submit a remembrance of Cecil Woolf to be included in that section, please contact Paula Maggio at bloggingwoolf@yahoo.com.

Submissions, which can be submitted via email to bloggingwoolf@yahoo.com, should be limited to 1,000 words. However, briefer remembrances are also welcome.

Submission deadline is July 31.

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A fourth obituary for Cecil Woolf, the oldest living relative of Virginia Woolf who died June 10 in London, was published yesterday. This one appears in The Telegraph. It is listed below, along with the other three.

Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson at the Nov. 22, 2014,
unveiling of the Blue Plaque at Frome Station, which recognized the marriage of Leonard and Virginia Woolf.

He had too much style and charm, however, to say more at the events and conferences he was prevailed upon to attend than that he always saw Virginia through the prism of his childhood in the 1930s. Then, she was merely a well-regarded writer rather than a feminist icon. – The Telegraph

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