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Archive for the ‘Happy birthday’ Category

I missed Mrs. Dalloway’s birthday two months ago. May 14 marked 88 years sincedalloway Woolf’s 1925 novel was published, a fact I noticed when I came across Anne Fernald’s essay, “Mrs. Dalloway at 88” on The Awl website.

Fernald’s essay was also republished on the website of London Fictions.

In her piece, Fernald gives eight compelling reasons why the book still matters today:

  1. Woolf makes us care about a fancy middle-aged lady throwing a party.
  2. The characters have great names that have interesting histories.
  3. It’s a great example of a novel set on a single day.
  4. Woolf deploys allusions to Shakespeare like a master.
  5. It continues to inspire other works of art.
  6. It’s full of London history.
  7. Even the random details are not random.
  8. We still need to remember to take care of veterans and we still don’t do enough.

Fernald, Woolf scholar and passionate feminist, is always worth following.

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Today is Virginia Woolf’s birthday. It is now 131 years since she was born on Jan. 25, 1882, at 12:15 p.m., inwoolf quote Kensington, London, and birthday wishes are coming to her from around the globe, courtesy of the Web.

In honor of her special day, the Christian Science Monitor has put up this post: Virginia Woolf: 10 quotes on her birthday. The piece credits her for having made a “major impact on the shaping of the modern novel” and being “an early advocate of women’s rights.”

And the New York Public Library has selections of Woolf’s novels that you can read online in celebration. Just add cake.

HuffPost Books has the Woolf quote graphic at top right, which I found thanks to my friend Margaret of Kent State University, posted on its Facebook page.

mixtapeBloggers who have posted birthday wishes include the Book Riot  and this blog. And Lifelounge has put together a Virginia Woolf mixtape in honor of her 131st, along with this note of thanks, “Hey VW, thanks for writing all kinds of things we didn’t know how to say! Also, how did you live to 131?”

If you live near London or Wilton, Conn., you can also attend one of these celebrations:

Here is what sounds like a birthday wishes, as articulated by Woolf in her short story, “The String Quartet,” which is included in Monday or Tuesday (1921):

Iwant to dance, laugh, eat pink cakes, drink thin, sharp wine. Or an indecent story, now—I could relish that. The older one grows, the more one likes indecency.

Read more about past birthday celebrations for Virginia:

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Virginia Woolf was born 129 years ago today, so I decided to search through a volume or two of her diaries to see whether she made an effort to document the doings of the day.

I started with her last, Vol. V, the diaries that cover the last years of her life, 1936 to 1941. There were entries before and after Jan. 25, but none that mentioned her birthday itself. Instead, her entry for the day following her birthday in 1940 speaks of “moments of despair” (260), and her 1941 entry of depression and rejection (354).

In both cases, though, Woolf shakes off the gloom. In 1940, she writes that her despair is really “glacial suspense” that has “given way . . . to ecstasy” (260). In 1941, she bravely says “[t]his trough of despair shall not, I swear, engulf me” (354).

In Volume III, which includes entries from 1925 to 1930, I found one entry that mentions her birthday and notes an unusual occurence in the natural world. On Jan. 26, 1930, Woolf wrote:

I am 48: we have been at Rodmell–a wet, windy day again; but on my birthday we walked among the downs, like the folded wings of grey birds; & saw first one fox, very long with his brush stretched; then a second, which had been barking, for the sun was hot over us; it leapt lightly over a fence & entered the furze — a very rare sight (285).

Sighting two foxes and feeling the heat of the sun. Not bad for a 48th birthday in England in January.

Past posts about Woolf’s birthday include:

You can also go here for past birthday remiscences of Woolf from Nonsuch Blog readers. And read more about the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain’s Twelfth Annual Birthday Lecture on Woolf, Eliot and Mansfield. It was held Jan. 22.

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Virginia Woolf is in my thoughts on Jan. 25. And this year, the 128th anniversary of her birth, Paste Magazine celebrates her life and legacy with a list of 10 songs that reflect her life and work.

Below are a few other places to read birthday wishes to the grand dame of the modernist novel.

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cakeNew Yorkers had the opportunity to celebrate Virginia Woolf’s birthday two ways today — both of them on stage. Those of us who live elsewhere can do our celebrating vicariously.

Here are some links to birthday wishes for Virginia in cyberspace:

  • NPR broadcast a six-minute program Sunday morning on the premier of the first full production of Freshwater, Woolf’s only play. The piece included an interview with producer Julie Crosby of The Women’s Project and audio from the play itself, which is now on stage in New York.  Read and listen to “In `Freshwater,’ a Lighter Side of Virginia Woolf.”
  • The New York Times published a review affirming Woolf’s light side too. And Newsday published a blurb.
  • A staged reading of Edna O’Brien’s award-winning play Virginia was held at the Arthur Seelen Theater today. The play, a 90-minute exploration of Woolf’s inner life and relationships, was followed by a question and answer session with the director and artistic director and Anne Fernald, author of Virginia Woolf: Feminism and the Reader. Anne has promised to blog about the event on Fernham, and her impressions would enhance our off-site celebration. Here is her first installment. And here is her second.
  • Vara Neverow posted her birthday message to the VW Listserv, informing us all that we could read a post celebrating Woolf’s life on the blog nonsuchbook, where readers were invited to post a comment about their favorite Woolf novel along with a favorite quote. Read the report of the online birthday bash, including the name of the winner of a copy of Mrs. Woolf and the Servants.
  • Finally, Woolf is included among notable individuals born on Jan. 25 in an online almanac listing of events that took place on this date.

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