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Archive for the ‘commodification’ Category

Virginia Woolf’s writing desk, known for its interesting history, is in the online and physical exhibit of the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, titled “Five Hundred Years of Women’s Work.”

Carefully assembled over 45 years by noted bibliophile, activist and collector Lisa Unger Baskin, the collection includes more than 8,600 rare books and thousands of manuscripts, journals, ephemera and artifacts, including Woolf’s desk.

Baskin Unger acquired the desk from Colin Franklin, and it became one of “the most iconic items” in her collection, which is described as one of the largest and most significant private collections on women’s history. The desk now in Duke University’s possession is apparently Woolf’s original stand-up desk with its legs shortened to suit Olivia Bell.

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University acquired Unger’s collection around 2015, catalogued it, and has now launched an exhibition at Duke that will travel to New York’s Grolier Club from December 11, 2019, through February 8, 2020.

 

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I have a large home. With lots of stuff. And though I feel obliged to regularly dispose of things — pawning them off on friends, donating them to charity shops, dropping them into the recycle bin — sometimes I just can’t resist adding a new possession. Particularly when it comes to Virginia Woolf.

I searched her name on Amazon this week and found this candle. I was tempted to buy it until I found what I considered a better one on Etsy.

Virginia Woolf Sainted Writers Secular Prayer Candle

Called the Virginia Woolf Sainted Writers Secular Prayer Candle, it comes with your choice of prayer printed on the back, a book charm fastened around the top, and an unscented soy candle that burns for up to 80 hours inside.

I immediately placed my order. It was impossible to resist our beloved Virginia dressed in a nun’s habit, holding a copy of the Penguin edition of A Room of One’s Own, and this sales pitch:

Before you write, seek passion and clarity from Saint Virginia by lighting this unscented white prayer candle.

Your choice of prayers

Currently available prayers, copied from the Etsy shop web page of Sainted Writers owner Michelle, are:

✑ prayer for essay writers
✑ prayer for readers
✑ prayer for creative writers
✑ prayer for prelims exam success
✑ prayer for dissertation writers
✑ prayer for thesis writers
✑ your choice of text (please leave a note with up to 100 words and any special instructions)

I chose the Reader’s Prayer. May it bring me illumination in these troubled times.

 

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Depiction of Woolf as literary great is not so great

In this set of Literary Greats Paper Dolls from Dover, Virginia Woolf stands among the greats: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle dressed up as Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie playing Miss Marple, William Shakespeare as Hamlet.

Woolf, however, doesn’t fare as well. For instead of dressing Woolf as a character from one of her well-known works — say Clarissa from Mrs. Dalloway — this collection of  35 paper dolls of famous authors, depicts Woolf in a straightjacket.

The jury is out on this one

However, she may be treated more respectfully in this set of Literary Paper Dolls, as she is included among 16 literary greats. But since she is not depicted in the illustration or described in the text, it’s hard to know.

If anyone owns a set of these dolls, please let us know how Woolf appears by posting a comment below.

I can’t help but wonder if an artistic Woolfian should design a paper doll of our own doll, along with appropriate costumes that give dear Virginia the respect she deserves.

Woolf Commodified: Virginia Woolf dolls and other items displayed at the 26th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf.

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Yes, that’s right, Bloomsbury scents. Jo Malone London has created a set of perfumes inspired by the Bloomsbury group.FB message

I first learned of them via a Facebook message from my Arizona niece Christina, who works in the beauty industry. But the word soon spread via the VWoolf Listserv.

A spokesperson for the company said a visit to Charleston inspired the collection, which will launch next month and include five limited edition scents: Blue Hyacinth, Tobacco and Mandarin, Whisky and Cedarwood, Leather and Artemisia, and Garden Lilies. Each fragrance is available as a 30ml bottle and will be priced at £45. Yikes!

Her concept is calculated to perpetuate the modern world’s obsession with the Bloomsbury lifestyle over their work, something Virginia Nicholson criticized in her recent interview on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour program.

Read more hype about the collection in The Telegraph.

We enjoyed the idea that this group of people appeared to be very English and proper but they were in fact non-conformists and true hedonists. We liked how the ‘proper’ contrasted with the ‘promiscuous’. -fragrance director Celine Roux

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Beaumont is a small high desert city in Southern California’s “Inland Empire,” about 80 miles east of Los Angeles on the road to Palm Springs. I don’t know anything about the community’s literary and cultural climate and certainly don’t mean to slight residents when I say that it doesn’t strike me as a place where one would find many Woolfophiles.

But hey, I could be selling the heartland short. When my writer/musician friend Bill Bell, who lives in neighboring Banning, was prowling around the Beaumont swap meet one day recently, he too was surprised to come across this one-of-a-kind treasure. Happily he thought of me and generously paid $2 to buy it for me. It’s a wooden paintbox, about 12” x 16.” Both sides are painted, one with a whimsical winged elf. The other side is a fair-to-middling copy of the Beresford portrait of young Virginia Stephen next to a quotation I wasn’t familiar with. I traced it to Jacob’s Room:

It’s not catastrophes, murders, deaths, diseases that age and kill us; it’s the way people look and laugh, and run up the steps of the omnibuses.

I wonder how someone, having created this gem, could bear to part with it, but it’s found a good home here in my study, surrounded by my books and an assortment of compatible Woolfiana.

 

 

 

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Artist Ruth Dent has created a handpainted scarf to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s first novel The Voyage Out.

You can purchase The Voyage Out Centenary Scarf online through her IndieGoGo campaign. Printed digitally on silk, only 100 are available.

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If you are attending the 25th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf: Virginia Woolf and Her Female Contemporaries, held June 4-7 at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pa., you can add the conference T-shirt to your collection. Just place your order for a shirt when you register. The cost is $12.

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