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Archive for the ‘Woolf spaces’ Category

When I first learned, through one of Paula Maggios’s tweets, about the Virginia Woolf inspired art exhibit in Las Vegas, I shifted my calendar around so that I could visit the gallery as soon as possible. I then learned that two of my colleagues from the College of Southern Nevada are a part of the community of women whose work is on display at the Left of Center Art Gallery as part of the “A Room of One’s Own” All Women’s Art Exhibit, and so I went to the gallery immediately!

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The gallery provides a space for women artists to create, discuss, and display their art. This specific exhibit features both literary and visual art pieces. Some of the pieces directly reference Woolf, such as the piece “Freedom” by Yvette Mangual, which quotes “A Room of One’s Own”:

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“Freedom” by Yvette Mangual

Some pieces seemed to allude to Woolf’s misty, Modernist aesthetic, such as Elizabeth Blau-Ogilvie’s gorgeous piece, “Glacial Pour” which gave me visions of James’s, Cam’s and Mr. Ramsay’s final boat ride in To the Lighthouse:

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“Glacial Pour” by Elizabeth Blau-Ogilvie

Dr. Karen Laing and Professor Erica Vital-Lazare are two of the 26 women artists whose works are on display in the Woolf inspired exhibit. After an inspired visit to the gallery, I interviewed Karen and Erica to learn about the ways that Virginia Woolf has inspired them as artists, and to gather their views on being woman artists.

Karen Laing is an activist and artist who teaches English composition and literature at the College of Southern Nevada. My interview with Karen is featured below:

Karen, your poem, “Thanks Sharon” reflects on oppression and resistance. In what ways does your work speak to and for women?

Among my deepest desires for the contribution my work makes in the never-ending conversation about what it means to be human is the hope that women locate ourselves in the center of every discussion, armed with a voice as authentic and indispensable to the outcomes present and prophetic as it is sufficient to the challenges reality places before us. I hope my life and art unleash the initiative of the creator within us so that we create a world worthy of our best and healing of our worst.

Karen, in what ways has Virginia Woolf’s work influenced you? 

Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own inspired me to create spaces in which I could listen for and attend to my heart’s desires. It soon became apparent that for this to be more consistently and sustainably possible, I would need to encourage others to find and forge similar spaces and permissions of their own.

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“Future Primitive” on display at the Left of Center Gallery by artist Lolita Develay.

Erica Vital-Lazare teaches creative writing at the College of Southern Nevada where she is the editor-in-chief of the Red Rock Review literary journal. Our interview is located below:

Erica, you work as a Professor, artist, and editor within the Las Vegas community, so you have a unique view of women artists in Sin City. In what ways do you think that Woolf’s ideas in “A Room of One’s Own” connect to today’s women artists?

In 1929 when Woolf was asked to write about women who write, she raised the artful and sanctioned notables—the pluck of Jane Austen and the blunt-edged realism of George Eliot with the intent of taking the discussion further than those points of comfort to address the gap between woman-art and its creation and recognition. The gap she addresses is parity. The bridge she dares to construct deconstructs. In a time when women are chattel she makes public the keys to artistic freedom when she says a woman must have these things of her own: her own money and her own space within the canon. Agency. Nearly 90 years after Woolf penned “A Room of One’s Own”, women-artists build their own, even though sometimes it just might mean they must first burn down a few houses.

In what ways has Virginia Woolf’s work influenced your own writing?

Virginia Woolf’s fearlessness as a woman-artist in an era when capitulating and cowing under the weight of gender was so deeply embedded in the culture that furniture was specifically designed and appointed in the homes of finer society to catch our feinting and fainting-fragile selves is a wonder and an inspiration to me.  I know many women writers in many genres who think of her and the essay as they carve out space for themselves.

If you are in the Las Vegas area, I highly recommend making a trip to the Left of Center Gallery to enjoy some moving art, as well as to support women artists. The exhibit is free and will continue until March 31. Read more about the exhibit here.

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I first met Cecil Woolf in 2007. I was attending my first Virginia Woolf conference, the seventeenth annual conference held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

I, of course, was in awe. He, of course, was friendly, gracious, and encouraging. If I hadn’t known it already, I would not have imagined he was someone “important.” He was just so genuine and down to earth.

Since then, we have become friends, corresponding by snail mail and email and meeting at Woolf conferences. He sends me books. I send him cards. He gives me chocolates. I give him manuscripts.

For a long time, I have imagined coming to London and walking around Virginia’s favorite city with her nephew, the son of her husband Leonard’s youngest brother. Today my imagined day of “street haunting” became reality. Cecil and I spent seven hours exploring Bloomsbury together, with a stop for lunch and another for tea as we walked nearly six miles, according to my helpful but intrusive phone app.

As you can imagine, the conversation with this witty, insightful, and well-read man never flagged — and neither did his energy on this fine June day in London.

Here are some photos from the day. I only wish I could share the conversation as easily.

Cecil and I on a bench in Tavistock Square garden. Virginia and Leonard lived at 52 Tavistock Square from 1924-1939.

Cecil Woolf and I share a bench in Tavistock Square garden. Virginia and Leonard lived at 52 Tavistock Square from 1924-1939. Cecil remembers them sharing a bottle of wine while sitting at a table in the garden.

Cecil Woolf with the bust of Virginia Woolf located in Tavistock Square garden, dedicated in 2004.

Cecil Woolf with the bust of Virginia Woolf located in Tavistock Square garden, dedicated in 2004.

Cecil Woolf planted this Gingko biloba tree in Tavistock Square garden on Dec. 16, 2004, to commemorate the centennial of the arrival of his uncle Leonard in Colombo, Ceylon

Cecil Woolf planted this Gingko biloba tree in Tavistock Square garden on Dec. 16, 2004, to commemorate the centennial of the arrival of his uncle Leonard in Colombo, Ceylon.

Cecil Woolf at 46 Gordon Square, where Virginia lived from 1905-1907.

Cecil Woolf at 46 Gordon Square, where Virginia lived from 1905-1907.

No walk around London would be complete without a stop at a bookstore, so we visited Persephone Books.

No walk around London with Cecil Woolf would be complete without a stop at a bookstore, so we visited Persephone Books, 59 Lamb Conduit Street. The shop carries books from Cecil Woolf Publishers.

We were guided along the way by "Virginia Woolf Life and London: Bloomsbury and Beyond," written by Jean Moorcroft Wilson, Cecil's wife of many years.

We were guided along the way by “Virginia Woolf Life and London: Bloomsbury and Beyond,” the classic Woolf guidebook written by Jean Moorcroft Wilson, Cecil’s wife of many years.

Speaking of books, Cecil and Jean publish several new volumes in the Bloomsbury Heritage Series each year, introducing them at the annual Woolf conference.

Speaking of books, Cecil and Jean publish several new volumes in their Bloomsbury Heritage Series each year, introducing them at the annual Woolf conference. Here is part of this year’s display.

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Emma Woolf

Emma Woolf

This round of Woolf sightings includes the sightings (16-19) of a live Woolf, Emma Woolf, the daughter of Leonard and Virginia’s nephew, Cecil Woolf and author Jean Moorcroft Wilson.

Her book, The Ministry of Thin: How the Pursuit of Perfection Got Out of Control, was published June 3. She is also the author of An Apple A Day: A Memoir of Love and Recovery From Anorexia. Her eponymous column is published by The Times.

Emma wrote about her Great Aunt Virginia in a May 25 piece in The Mail in which she shares her father’s reminiscences about Virginia, along with quotes from letters, diaries and biographical material regarding her aunt’s illnesses and eating habits.

  1. Why Doesn’t Mrs. Dalloway Get a Day of Her Own?Slate Magazine
    This year, a handful of literary folk in London celebrated another modernist masterpiece, Virginia Woolf’s slender Mrs. Dalloway—which also takes place on a single day in June—by taking a walk around London. They walked “in the spirit of Bloomsday 
  2. 10 things we learned from the London 2014 menswear collections, The Guardian
    Meadham Kirchhoff’s collection, inspired in part by Virginia Woolf’s gender-blending novel Orlando, had twisted cute accessories – rubber carrier bags covered with brightly coloured felt animals – that will definitely have female fans too. Sharing a 
  3. Guess who’s coming to dinnerSouth China Morning Post
    In Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf devotes the entire book to describing a house party. In the 1967 classic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, the taboo subject of interracial marriage is dealt with at one of Hollywood’s most memorable suppers. Dinner parties 
  4. Virginia Woolf: The Charleston Bulletin SupplementsThe GuardianCharleston Bulletin Supplements
    In late 1923, Virginia Woolf was writing Mrs Dalloway. She had got to the “mad scene” in Regent’s Park; it was intense and disturbing work. But there were all sorts of other things going on in her life, and here is one of them: she was collaborating 
  5. Virginia Woolf and Quentin Bell’s Charleston Bulletin supplements – in picturesThe Guardian
    When the 13-year-old Quentin Bell asked his aunt, Virginia Woolf, to contribute to a magazine he was putting together for his family it was the beginning of a collaboration which lasted for five years. Take a look at some of the highlights from the 
  6. Couture presentsher Senior NovelMorning Sentinel
    These presentations are the culmination of intensive research and writing on a major English-language novel and are required of all senior English majors in order to satisfy degree requirements. Couture passed her presentation on Virginia Woolf’s
  7. Still a long way to go to full equalityThis is Nottingham
    But, as novelist Virginia Woolf told female undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge, having the vote was not enough. . To achieve equality, women needed both financial independence and “space”. This underlines the continuing tension hindering 
  8. Room of his own: Man caves thrive
    San Jose Mercury News
    Nearly a century ago, Virginia Woolf argued that a woman needed a room of her own. What would she say now that it’s men who are demanding more than a workbench in the corner of a cluttered garage? “Men are actively pursuing retreat spaces in their 
  9. Rare TS Eliot book under hammer
    Littlehampton Gazette
    The book was published by the Hogarth Press, a private press founded by Eliot’s friends Leonard andVirginia Woolf, with the type thought to be hand-set by Virginia. It is an edition of about 460 copies. It was donated to Oxfam by Colin Cohen who was 
  10. ‘I will not recommend this book to anyone, not even my enemies’: The Internet 
    New York Daily News (blog)
    Using Amazon and Goodreads as its sources, “Love Reading, Hate Books” aggregates one-star reviews of everyone from Virginia Woolf (“I really didn’t care if they made it to the lighthouse or not”) to Beowulf (“Did the ideas of holes in the plot never 
  11. Karen Russell: All fiction is autobiographical, Salon
    Those are the kinds of authors that Karen Russell admires (she cites Flannery O’Connor and Virginia Woolf among them), and it’s the kind of writer she happens to be. Russell has been hailed for her “original voice” ever since she published her first 
  12. Beat Generation brought to life in new showKent News
    Their last production was Because Of The Moon, a play about Virginia Woolf. The play focuses on the Beat Generation writers of the 1950s, including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, whose lifestyles and work was based on drugs, sex 
  13. Odd Type WritersHuffington Post
    As a young writer Virginia Woolf preferred to stand while she wrote. Her desk was three and a half feet tall. Quentin Bell, Woolf’s nephew, concluded that the habit was spurred by sibling rivalry. Woolf’s sister Vanessa was an artist who painted at an 
  14. A tale of ordinary madnessThe Independent
    My early heroines had been Sylvia Plath and her Bell Jar, Virginia Woolf before The Hours, andWinona Ryder in Girl, Interrupted. Their breakdowns were a rite of passage for the posh, liberal and bohemian. These were my poster-girls (and they were 
  15. Soldier’s HomeWall Street Journal
    Post-traumatic stress disorder, what was once known as shell shock or battle fatigue, has been memorably depicted in fiction—from Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway” to William Wharton’s “Birdy” to Philip Caputo’s “Indian Country.” Yet because these 
  16. Room to writeWorld Magazine
    Virginia Woolf insisted that in order for a woman to write she needed money and a room of her own. So upon graduating from college, I set out to make a room of my own to write in. I chose an available space in the top of the family shed that had 
  17. What We’re ReadingNew York Times (blog)ministry of thin
    The Guardian: Virginia Woolf’s great-niece, a recovered anorexic, suggests that her aunt also had from the disease. This adds yet another layer of poignancy and complexity to a woman who once wrote, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one 
  18. Book News: Amazon’s Bubbles, Semicolon RapNew Yorker (blog)
    Virginia Woolf’s great-niece says that she believes her great-aunt suffered from anorexia. In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Leo Braudy on the new documentary “Plimpton! Starring George Plimptonas Himself” and Plimpton’s “tantalizing blend of 
  19. Virginia Woolf was anorexic, claims great nieceThe Guardian
    Virginia Woolf‘s great niece has suggested that her great aunt suffered from anorexia nervosa. Emma Woolf, who has written a memoir of her own recovery from the eating disorder, says she experienced a “painful moment of recognition” when she saw a 
  20. Did great-aunt Virginia Woolf have anorexia? Her great niece, a former Daily Mail
    However, it was during Virginia’s third breakdown in 1913, aged 31, less than a year after her marriage to the writer and publisher Leonard Woolf, that signs of anorexia become apparent: ‘The most difficult and distressing problem was to get Virginia 
  21. iHeart Locket Digitally Protects Your Girls’ DiaryTechlicious (blog)iheart-locket-300px
    From Virginia Woolf to DJ Tanner, keeping a diary has long been a rite of passage for girls. Now, a company named DanoToys is trying to bring the diary into the 21st century with the iHeart Locket, a Bluetooth-powered necklace that unlocks a journaling 
  22. Parallels and paradoxes in Israeli artist’s one-woman group showHaaretz
    In this part it is possible to see some of her most beautiful and important works, among them “The Circle by Virginia” (1975-1976), which refers to Virginia Woolf and appears in two versions (two-dimensional and three-dimensional), and the work 
  23. Review: Kate Tempest at Lyric 2013ForgeToday
    Tempest Kate Tempest is an act who truly encompasses what Lyric is all about; alternative and thoroughly modern. Tempest cites her key influences as including Virginia Woolf, William Blake and Wu-Tang Clan. A cacophony of literary references mixed with 
  24. Eat That, GalanosDrift | Perspective(s) in surfing
    Using Ernest Hemingway’s reflective line as a title and the words of Virginia Woolf and local surf pro Alan Stokes in voice over ‘EAT THAT, GALANOS’ peeks at man’s nocturnal relationship with the ocean and as surfing as an inconsequential by-product of 
  25. The Trials Of Radclyffe Hall by Diana Souhami – reviewThe GuardianThe-Trials-of-Radclyffe-Hall
    Hall’s novel The Well of Loneliness – a gloomy account of the struggles of a “congenital invert” that even sympathetic writers such as Virginia Woolf struggled to defend artistically – was put on trial under the Obscene Publications Act in 1928 
  26. Krista: Making a case for the classicsCincinnati.com
    Contemporary romance writer Debbie Macomber may fill two shelves while literary giant Virginia Woolfis, alas, still searching for some room of her own. Now, no one loves Dostoyevsky more than a library, and if you request a classic, it will be sent to 
  27. The Woman Upstairs, By Claire MessudThe Independent
    Nora finds inspiration in sharing a studio with her and begins working on a series of miniature rooms of iconic women artists on the edge – Emily Dickinson visited by “the angelic muse, her beloved death”,Virginia Woolf at Rodmell writing her suicide 
  28. Pierrot LunairHuffington Post
    Wayne’s Pierrot Lunaire assumes that the New York School that it constantly refers to is the center of everyone’s world: a world in which Susan Sontag and Virginia Woolf interact with Mae West, Patty Duke and Diana Vreeland through the lens of a newly 

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Here’s an interesting twist on the stream of consciousness technique Virginia Woolf used in several of her most famousScreen Shot 2013-05-23 at 3.53.53 PM novels. It’s a project that involves walking and talking. Simultaneously.

Andrew Irving, an anthropologist at the University of Manchester, decided to record the “inner dialogues of people walking in New York City—to map part of the city’s thoughtscape, layered beneath its audible soundscape.” To do so, he approached strangers at Manhattan intersections and asked if they would share what they were thinking.

Surprisingly, out of  those he asked, about 100 said yes. He then asked the agreeable pedestrians to wear a microphone attached to a headset and speak their thoughts aloud as they walked. He filmed their walking and recorded their audio, then overlay one on top of the other for his project called “New York Stories: The Lives of Other Citizens.”

To learn more, read Can we record our inner monologues? in Salon, and watch his four videos: “Walking,” “Bridges,” “Squares” and “Cafes.”

I guarantee you will be charmed by at least one of these brief videos. Perhaps predictably, my personal favorite is “Walking,” which is obviously reminiscent of Mrs. Dalloway.

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Annie Leibovitz says Virginia Woolf was sloppy. Her evidence? Woolf’s desk in her writing lodge at Monk’s House.

This screenshot from The Guardian website shows Woolf’s desk in her writing lodge at Monk’s House.

Leibovitz photographed the desk, along with other objects, rooms and landscapes that had special meaning for her to include in her book Pilgrimage, which was published last fall.

The photo of Woolf’s desk shows scratches and stains that mar nearly the entire desk surface. After snapping it, Leibovitz wondered what the scratches and stains were all about, and she discovered “that Woolf was a very sloppy person who often spilled drinks all over her work space,” according to an interview published in the Evening Sun.

Now an eponymous photography exhibit of Leibovitz’s work is on display at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum through Jan. 20. It features more than 70 photographs chronicling the photographer’s journey to landmarks — some literary — throughout the United States and England.

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Virginia and Leonard Woolf lived in Richmond, a suburb just 15 minutes from central London by train, from 1915 to 1924.

They occupied two houses during their years there. The first was rooms in number 17 on the east side of The Green, which is still considered “one of the most beautiful urban greens surviving anywhere in England.”

The second was Hogarth House on Paradise Road. According to Julia Briggs in Virginia Woolf an Inner Life, the Woolfs took the lease on the property on Virginia’s 33rd birthday. Hogarth House was part of the present Suffield House, which at that time was divided into two separate homes. The Woolfs occupied half of the Georgian brick home, moving there in early March of 1915.

One of England’s famous blue plaques, added in 1976, is affixed to the house to commemorate the Woolfs’ residency. The plaque is one of 15 in Richmond.

The Hogarth Press

The Hogarth Press began publishing at Hogarth House in July 1917. Woolf published Two Stories, Kew Gardens, Monday or Tuesday and Jacob’s Room between 1917 and 1924. Woolf could see Kew Gardens from the rear windows of Hogarth House.

When German air raids during World War I disturbed the sleep and the safety of the Woolfs and their servants, they moved to the basement at night. And when peace came, Woolf celebrated along with other Richmond residents. On July 20, 1919, she wrote her diary entry about the “peace” celebrations:

After sitting through the procession and the peace bells unmoved, I began after dinner to feel that if something was going on, perhaps one had better be in it…The doors of the public house at the corner were open and the room crowded; couples waltzing; songs being shouted, waveringly, as if one must be drunk to sing. A troop of little boys with lanterns were parading the Green, beating sticks. Not many shops went to the expense of electric light. A woman of the upper classes was supported dead drunk between two men partially drunk. We followed a moderate stream flowing up the Hill. 

Richmond makes its way into Woolf’s novels as well. In The Waves, for example, the reunion dinner at the end takes place at Hampton Court, which is located in Richmond. In the novel, Bernard calls it the  “meeting-place” for the group of six longtime friends.

Like most things in life, though, Woolf wavered between liking and disliking Richmond. Briggs says that even though Woolf described Hogarth House in one of her diaries as “a perfect house, if ever there was one,” by June of 1923 she was anxious to move back to London. In a diary entry that month, she wrote, “we must leave Richmond and set up in London.”

In March of 1924, the Woolfs left Richmond to move back to London. They set up housekeeping and publishing at 52 Tavistock Square.

To reach Hogarth House from London today, you can take the Underground District Line to Richmond or British Rail from Waterloo Station.

Read a modern-day paen to Richmond published in the April 18 issue of The Boston Globe.

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woolfs-bedroom

Woolf's bedroom at Monk's House

Virginia Woolf inspires so many things: songs, plays, art, films, fashions, You Tube videos, and now — a sitting room.

I found this Woolf-inspired sitting room online today. I was directed there by a blogger who imagined enjoying a cup of tea and Mrs. Dalloway in this setting awash in neutral colors.

Take a look, but don’t leave quickly. Holly Becker’s decor8 blog is full of lots of pretty things that herald spring.

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