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Archive for the ‘Woolf sightings’ Category

Literary Hub is a clearing house for all things literary—book reviews and reading lists, highlights from all over the web on pop culture and politics from a literary perspective, in addition to their own featured stories, essays, and craft pieces. They put out a daily or weekly LitHub bulletin with an overview and links to the latest content.

A recent feature was an essay by one of LitHub’s staff writers, Gabrielle Bellot: “How Much of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is in the Writing of Virginia Woolf?” It starts with Woolf’s 1934 diary entry that one “can’t unriddle the universe at tea,” and goes on to explore Woolf’s attempts to unriddle aspects of the universe in her reading and writing.

Woolf appears frequently in LitHub—no surprise to Woolfians that her work is an endless and timeless resource—so I went back to see what’s come across my screen this past month:

August 3 – “Rereading Mrs. Dalloway at the Same Age as Mrs. Dalloway”

July 31 – The Most Anthologized Essays in the Past 25 Years – Woolf ranked third (after Joan Didion and Annie Dillard)

July 21 – “9 Classic Country Songs and the Books They Pair With” – “Whoever’s in New England” by Reba McIntire with Mrs. Dalloway

July 14 – “A night with VirginiaWoolf suite at America’s strangest literary hotel”

July 10 – “8 Famous Writers Writing About Not Writing”

and lots more at this excellent resource.

 

 

 

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Where I live, we are lucky to have Nightlight Cinema, a small locally-owned theatre that shows independent films ignored by the big theater complexes that feature blockbusters.

Drawn in by a preview of A Ghost Story, I attended Nightlight’s last showing of the film on Thursday. I was glad I did. Why? Two reasons. It was intriguing. And it pays tribute to Virginia Woolf.

The film, which has received rave reviews, includes the first line of Woolf’s short story “A Haunted House” in the opening credits. It is shown for a few moments on a dark background.

Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting.

Filmmaker David Lowery’s use of the quote was a clue to what I didn’t know but soon learned — that Woolf is one of his favorite authors and her 1921 story helped inspire his film.

My investigation also uncovered the fact that when the ghost knocks several books off a shelf, the open book upon which the camera focuses includes important lines from “A Haunted House,” lines about treasure, buried treasure, “the light in the heart.”

Woolf as guiding light

Orlando is one of my favourite novels,” Lowery told the Irish Times. “I love her letters too. She’s my guiding light. The way she uses time fascinates me. Especially in To the Lighthouse and Orlando. They play with time in this dynamic and fun way. I love the idea of a character existing outside of time in the way that Orlando does.

“So that was certainly on my mind when I was writing the screenplay. And I wanted to pay homage to her in some small regard. And I wondered if she had ever written about ghosts. So I did a Google search. And found A Haunted House. I couldn’t believe that I had never read it before.

“The first sentence begins: ‘Whatever hour you woke there was a door shunting’. [sic] I couldn’t resist extending that to the film. I hope that it encourages somebody somewhere to pick up her work. Because I owe a lot to her.”

Playing with time as Woolf does

The film is a story of a house and its haunting, much like Woolf’s story. And it kept me thinking about its meaning and the message of the film long after I exited the theater, just as Woolf’s writing does long after I finish one of her novels or stories.

What’s more, Lowery plays with time in the film, much as Woolf does. As he noted in an interview with Huffington Post: “Virginia Woolf’s literature really transformed my own ideas about how to formally represent the passage of time and how time affects us. Specifically, the benchmarks are Mrs. DallowayTo the Lighthouse and Orlando, all of which have time as a central conceit.”

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The two Lilys have been on my mind for a while, and after rereading To the Lighthouse and House of Mirth, I’ve begun a trail of comparisons and contrasts to which I plan to add some personal reflections and who knows what else for a future essay.

Virginia Woolf reviewed House of Mirth and regarded Lily Bart with sympathy, as having “many of the faults of her surroundings” but also “a capacity for better things which is never to be exercised.” I also found a paper by a Wharton scholar that compares Lily Bart and Clarissa Dalloway, but I don’t think the Lilys have been broached together.

Just to be sure, I googled and found just one reference, to a passage that unites them in a 1990 novel by Roberta Silman, Beginning the World Again: A Novel of Los Alamos. I got the book right away, of course, and soon found myself embroiled in a well-researched account, based on actual events and real as well as fictional characters, of the secret mission to build the atomic bomb in the New Mexico hills during World War II.                

The protagonist is Lily Failka, the wife of a nuclear physicist on the team. This is her story about her time there, her marriage, the families, the project, the secrecy. Before accompanying her new husband to Los Alamos, Lily had been a graduate student in literature and was writing a thesis on Melville. Classic novels come up frequently in her thinking and in analogies she makes. When she has an affair with one of the other scientists, she introduces him to literature. Years later, looking back:

There were often months, then years when I scarcely thought about Jacob, and when I did, I was so detached that I was another person, another Lily—“Lily Bart, Lily Briscoe, Joyce’s Lily in ‘The Dead,’ Lily of the Field?” I could hear Jacob’s low voice asking me. All those Lilys I had told him about. No, none of those, but someone still within me whom I scarcely knew anymore.

I sought out and had an email exchange with Roberta Silman, who proudly claims Grace Paley as her mentor and friend. Her context for the reference was Lily Failka’s introducing her physicist lover to her favorite literature, but Roberta noted characteristics that perhaps all the Lilys share, providing food for thought for my own project. Roberta also took pleasure in casting her Lily in the company of the memorable Lily Bart and Lily Briscoe.

 

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Read Alice Lowe’s post on her blog about her essay in the Baltimore Review to find out how she ties Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own to the topic of 19th-century Arctic exploration.

How did I come to write about 19th-century Arctic exploration? It started with a song, as I explain in my essay “The Idea of North.” One thing led to another, and I was off on a tangent…

Source: The Idea of North | Alice Lowe blogs … about writing & reading & Virginia Woolf

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A collection of articles from Routledge Literature journals focused on Virginia Woolf are free to accesslives literature until the end of March 2017 as part of the publications’ wider Lives in Literature campaign.

Included in the collection is an article by Professor Martin Smith that was recently published in English Studies.

Access the Virginia Woolf collection online.

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Chiara Ferretti, an Italian fan of Virginia Woolf, sent Blogging Woolf this photo of a Woolf sighting she made in Venice. She found the Woolf poster at the Calle del Perdon, San Polo.

Woolf herself visited Venice three times — in 1904 with her family, in 1912 on her honeymoon with Leonard, and in 1932 with Leonard, Roger Fry and Margery Fry. On her 1904 trip, she stayed at the Grand Hotel on the Grand Canal.

On the occasion of her first visit, she wrote this in a 4 April 1904 letter to Violet Dickinson:

There never was such an amusing and beautiful place. We have a room here right at the top just at the side of the Grand Canal . . I can’t believe it is a real place yet and I wander about open-mouthed

For more on Woolf’s travels, visit In Her Steps and check out Travels with Virginia Woolf (1993) by Jan Morris.

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Here is an overdue collection of Woolf sightings from around the Web:

  1. A call for papers: Legacy and the Androgynous Mind: Reading Woolf and the Romantics https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/16225
  2. To the Lighthouse is The Wall Street Journal Book Club pick. http://on.wsj.com/29KLes3
  3. Virginia Woolf visited Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage. http://www.cumbriacrack.com/2016/07/14/wordsworths-dove-cottage-celebrates-125-years-open-public/
  4. “Typology of Women” project is an exhibition and a book that includes Virginia Woolf’s essay, “A Room of One’s Own.” http://bit.ly/29F1avz
  5. Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford, which brings in Virginia Woolf and Vita, is a hit. http://usat.ly/29z8YiC
  6. Bloomsbury in Sussex: A One-day conference https://centreformoderniststudiessussex.wordpress.com/bloomsbury-in-sussex-a-one-day-conference-marking-100-years-at-charleston/
  7. Vanessa Bell will have solo show at Dulwich Picture Gallery next year. http://bit.ly/29p4ECB
  8. An artist who promises to solve a Virginia Woolf riddle, The Waves. http://bit.ly/29noUIL
  9. More on Ethel Smyth’s music, including a video, and news of the biopic on her life, starring Cate Blanchett. http://bit.ly/29nou59
  10. Head writer for Inside Amy Schumer includes reference to Virginia Woolf in book of essays. http://nyti.ms/29p3YwL
  11. The “Virginia Monologues” inspired by Woolf. http://bit.ly/29qGhVZ
  12. On my next trip to London, I plan to visit the The Bloomsbury Club Bar. I hope they’ll comp me a drink. They have 10 of them named after Bloomsbury group members. http://bit.ly/29hNmei
  13. The Guardian on the upcoming Vita and Virginia film. http://bit.ly/29hMHtA
  14. Opera House Arts offers “Orlando.” http://bit.ly/29qFxQp
  15. Is Southern Appalachian writer Julia Franks a 21st-century Virginia Woolf? This reviewer thinks so. http://bit.ly/28SbjnW
  16. The overlooked woman from the BBC who put Virginia Woolf on the air. http://bit.ly/28MC7Yr
  17. Coverage of Virginia Woolf’s connection with Yorkshire and the Bronte Parsonage Museum, along with The International Virginia Woolf Conference 2016 in the Yorkshire Post. http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/lifestyle/books/when-virginia-woolf-met-the-relics-of-charlotte-bronte-at-haworth-1-7966226
  18. A sustained homage to Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway in AL Kennedy’s “Serious Sweet.” http://on.ft.com/1sAeJnP
  19. Penguin Books bite-sized classics for 80p–including Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway–are luring younger readers. http://bit.ly/1TPRXBi
  20. Virginia Woolf stayed at the Hotel Villa Cimbrone on the Amalfi Coast. Bella! http://bit.ly/1TPR37V
  21. The complete script of “Life in Squares,” the 3-part BBC TV series about the Bloomsbury group, is out. http://amzn.to/1XoXIZm
  22. Here’s a must-see: “A Room of Their Own: Lost Bloomsbury Interiors 1914-1930,” an exhibit June 10 – Sept. 4 in Bath https://bathnewseum.com/2016/05/20/designs-on-the-bloomsbury-group/
  23. What the Dickens does Dickens have to do with Virginia Woolf and Mrs. Dalloway? Andre Gerard explains in Berfrois. http://bit.ly/1TsMtxu

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