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Archive for the ‘in memoriam’ Category

Ane Thon Knutsen in her home printshop

Editor’s Note: Today marks the 79th anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s death, and as this post shows, she and her work continue to inspire artists and writers across the globe.

Virginia Woolf’s numerous experiences with illness led her to write the essay On Being Ill, published in 1930 by the Hogarth Press. Inspired by this work and the current coronavirus, Norwegian typesetter Ane Thon Knutsen, who has two projects focused on Woolf under her belt — A Printing Press of One’s Own and The Mark on the Wall — has now begun a third.

Woolf’s exploration of the consequences of illness

“Due to Covid-19 I have cast my eyes upon On Being Ill,” Knutsen explained. “This felt like something to get me through.

“The essay is about the consequence of illness; loneliness, isolation and vulnerability. But when we are forced to stop and slow down, we may notice the beauty in the small details of the world around us, and that our everyday, ordinary life is what we miss the most,” she said.

Working from home under quarantine in a printshop of her own

Ane Thon Knutsen’s letterpress

Knutsen, mother of a four-year-old, says her project allows her to combine motherhood with work under Norway’s self-imposed quarantine. The country made the move, which is in place at least until Easter, to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

“I like being alone working, and I am blessed with a workshop at home. So I contemplated a Quarantine project that works with the circumstances,” she said.

Her project: using her printing press to print one sentence on one sheet of paper every day from On Being Ill “until we can go back to normal. I hope I will not make it through, as we’re counting about 140 sentences, and the paper is restricted to leftovers from my stock,” Knutsen explained.

Published on Instagram

Five days ago, she began posting a photo of each page on her Instagram account, @anethonknutsen. As of today, she is on sentence number six. The project, she says, “will present a very slow reading of the story.

“In the end (when that will be, who knows), I will make a box with all the sheets — like a calendar of sorts. Hopefully I will exhibit it as a wall piece in the future,” she said.

The project is set in 10-point Goudy Old Style. For the ink, Knutsen has “mixed a rich gray ink… inspired by the dust jacket by Vanessa Bell, and the colour of the lead type. It softens the appearance of the words on the page,” she explained on Instagram.

She hopes to print 20 copies, in a 208 mm x 135 mm format, the same as Woolf’s 1930 edition.

Sentence two from Virginia Woolf’s “On Being Ill”

Sentence one from Virginia Woolf’s “On Being Ill”

A tray filled with type set for Ane Thon Knutsen’s letterpress

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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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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.

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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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Obituaries and tributes to Cecil Woolf, the oldest living relative of Virginia Woolf who died June 10 in London, are ongoing. The latest is published in the June 26 issue of The Guardian.

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

The article’s subhead, “Publisher and nephew of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, he extended the hand of friendship to Woolf scholars and writers,” encapsulates an important part of the legacy of this beloved gentleman, scholar, and founder of Cecil Woolf Publishers.

In The Guardian story, Cecil’s wife, author Jean Moorcroft Wilson, reflected on her decades-long collaboration with her husband, as well as the future of the couple’s publishing house:

We had an extraordinarily good working relationship … My great wish is that Cecil Woolf Publishers continue, and I have every intention of doing my utmost to ensure it does, either with me or our children, or with someone else who shares the same values and ideals.

Although The Times June 15 obituary is behind a paywall, you can read it on this blog via photographs of the print page.

Jean also wrote an obituary that ran in the Camden News Journal, which can be read at this post.

His funeral was held in London at Golders Green Crematorium on Monday, June 24, at 3 p.m., with friends and family gathering at the family home in London home afterwards. A memorial service will also be held in late September or early October, but details have not yet been set.

His legacy

Some tributes to Cecil’s legacy have taken place; others are planned.

They include: 

  • O outro garoto na Hogarth Press: homenagem a Cecil Woolf
  • Dedication of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain’s Dalloway Day events at Waterstones Gower Street to Cecil Woolf.
  • A special section devoted to Cecil Woolf 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.

  • The next issue of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain’s Bulletin will be dedicated to Cecil Woolf and will include remembrances of him.

Condolences

Those who would like to send a message of condolence to the family may direct it to Jean Moorcroft Wilson at 1 Mornington Place, London NW1 7RP, England.

A daughter’s tributes

Below are a selection of tweets sent by Cecil and Jean’s daughter, author Emma Woolf, in tribute to her father.

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