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Archive for the ‘Ruth Gruber’ Category

She had the will to write as a woman. And I had read that in no other book.

—Ruth Gruber on Virginia Woolf

Ruth Gruber’s groundbreaking study of the work and legacy of Virginia Woolf—an enduring feminist analysis pairing two of the twentieth century’s most extraordinary writers is now out as an ebook published by Open Road Integrated Media.

Here’s the back story. In 1932, Ruth Gruber earned her Ph.D.—the youngest person ever to do so—with a stunning doctoral dissertation on Virginia Woolf. Published in 1935, the paper was the first-ever feminist critique of Woolf’s work and inspired a series of correspondences between the two writers. It also led to Gruber’s eventual meeting with Woolf, which she recounted six decades later in Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman.

Described by Gruber as “the odyssey of how I met Virginia Woolf, and how her life and work became intertwined with my life,” Virginia Woolf is a clear and insightful portrait of one of modern literature’s most innovative authors, written by one of America’s most remarkable journalists.

Ruth Gruber at Woolf and the City

Gruber is the author of 19 books, including the National Jewish Book Award–winning biography Raquela (1978). She also wrote several memoirs documenting her astonishing experiences, among them Ahead of Time (1991), Inside of Time (2002), and Haven (1983), which describes her role in the rescue of 1,000 refugees from Europe during World War II, and their safe transport to America. Gruber lives in New York City.

Extra content includes:

•  Behind-the-scenes videos and author commentary at www.openroadmedia.com/authors/ruth-gruber.aspx   

•  An illustrated biography in each ebook, including never-before-seen photographs and documents from Gruber’s personal life and distinguished career

The ebook is available from Amazon.com, Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.com, Google eBookstore/IndieBound, Kobo Books, Sony Reader Store, and OverDrive.

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Anne Fernald and Megan Branch

Anne Fernald and Megan Branch

Wow! That is my overwhelming response to the Virginia Woolf conference that ended yesterday afternoon in New York City.

The comments I heard throughout the four-day event tell me that Woolf and the City left everyone buzzed. Anne Fernald and her team of volunteers from Fordham University — Megan Branch, Elizabeth Foley O’Connor, Kelly Spall and Sarah Cornish — put together a dynamite event that sparked many ideas in the minds of Woolfians from around the world.

Here are some highlights:

  • Fifty fabulous panels featuring the work of Woolf scholars and common readers from around the globe,
    Alice Lowe
    Alice Lowe

    including Bloomsbury biographer Frances Spalding of Newcastle University, Pace University’s Mark Hussey of Virginia Woolf from A to Z fame, Alice Lowe of San Diego, artist Suzanne Bellamy of the University of Sydney, Sarah Prieto of SUNY New Paltz, Katarzyna Rybinska of Wroclaw University in Poland and Iolanda Plescia of Roma Tre University in Rome.

  • Dr. Ruth Gruber. Yes, Dr. Ruth Gruber. The 97-year-old journalist, photographer and author of Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman, was part of a conversational panel led by writer and broadcaster Katherine Lanpher. She shared fascinating stories of her 1930s experiences as a journalist who visited the Soviet Arctic and a writer who met Virginia and Leonard Woolf in their Tavistock Square flat.
  • Susan Sellers, author of Vanessa and Virginia, the novel based on the relationship between sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, which is receiving rave reviews in the U.S. after its recent release, was also part of the Lanpher conversation. When she read a passage from her novel, I wasn’t sure what impressed me more — the words she read or the liltingly beautiful English accent with which she read them. Maybe it was the combination.
  • Kris Lundberg, founder of Shakespeare’s Sister, a New York theater company for women that also focuses on community literacy. She did a dramatic reading of Woolf’s words that made a hush fall over the audience.
  • Keynote speaker Rebecca Solnit, a prolific author whose soothing voice left her audience in a state of suspended animation while her intriguing ideas left their minds in a state of excitement.
  • Tamar Katz of Brown University who spoke about the importance of “pausing and waiting” in life and in Woolf.
  • Anna Snaith of King College, London, who shared her views regarding the meaning of street music in The Years — and treated us to audio clips of the actual tunes as well.
  • Plus a reading from Vita and Virginia and a performance that combined rock-out music from Princeton with dance from the Stephen Pelton Dance Theatre.
  • A table full of lovely books for sale from New York’s independent, activist book seller, Bluestockings.

Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson
Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson

And, of course, what Woolf conference would be complete without the inimitable combination of Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson and their collection of Bloomsbury Heritage Series monographs, including their two latest.

These monographs, published by their London publishing house, Cecil Woolf Publishers, are always popular at Woolf conferences, as they cover topics often missing in other Woolf scholarship.

Get the full list of books available in his Bloomsbury Heritage and War Poets series.

I will soon be posting an order form as a PDF to make the purchasing process easier. And I promise to keep you updated on other steps Cecil and Jean plan to take to make their monographs more available to their reading public.

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Ruth Gruber, noted journalist, photographer and author of Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman, is one of five individuals who will be honored at the Annual Celeberation of Free Speech sponsored by the National Coalition Against Censorship.

The event will be held at the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th St. at Seventh Avenue in New York City on Oct. 21.

You can listen to Gruber, Anthony Lewis and Barney Rosset discuss censorship — past, present and future — at noon Monday, Oct. 20, on 93.9-FM and 820-AM on WNYC.

For more about Gruber from Blogging Woolf, click here.

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Rewind to The Hours

The Hours filmWhether you consider the film version of Michael Cunningham’s The Hours a success or a failure, you may want to check out an interview with David Hare, screenwriter for the 2002 film.

He explains the miracle of making a commercial success out of the type of British film traditionally destined for art houses.

What is even more unusual, according to Hare, is that the film’s success caused Virginia Woolf’s novel, Mrs. Dalloway, on which The Hours is based, to climb to the top of the U.S. paperback chart.

“No academic, however jealous, could disdain a medium that drives the modern reader back to Virginia Woolf,” Hare says.

Funny how he sounds so disdainful of academics.

Back To the Lighthouse

A Boston Globe review of a new collection of American novelist William Maxwell’s work credits Woolf’s To the Lighthouse as the inspiration behind They Came Like Swallows, his highly autobiographical work that covers the death of his mother in the flu epidemic of 1918-19.

Writer on Woolf tells own story

Will to Create as a WomanRuth Gruber is famous for a number of things.

Her work on behalf of Jews during and after World War II is legendary.

Woolfians also admire her for her almost prescient study of Woolf written to fulfill her doctoral requirements at the University of Cologne, making her the youngest recipient of a Ph.D. in history.

WitnessHer groundbreaking work, Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman, was first published in 1935 and reprinted with the addition of new material in 2005.

Now 95, Gruber is still writing. This time, she has published her own story, and it is aptly titled Witness: One of the Great Correspondents of the 20th Century Tells Her Story.

Listen to an interview with Gruber.

Woolf one of many

Mad, Bad and SadIn Mad, Bad and Sad: the History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present, Woolf is just one of the many women whose mental state author Lisa Appignanesi discusses.

In truth, however, Appignanesi does not think any of these women deserve the description her title seems to bestow upon them. Read about the book in The Guardian Unlimited and The Telegraph.

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