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Archive for the ‘Woolf’s short fiction’ Category

In June, Rohan Maitzen, senior editor at Open Letters Monthly, approached Blogging Woolf. She was seekingnadelwoolf someone to review a new biography of Virginia Woolf.

Zoe Wolstenholme, who joined Blogging Woolf as a contributing writer just this year, readily agreed to review the work by biographer and critic Ira Nadel. Titled Virginia Woolf, it is part of Reaktion Books’ “Critical Lives” series and is included in the University of Chicago Press catalog.

Wolstenholme’s review, “The bowl that one fills and fills,” was published online Oct. 1.

Open Letters Monthly is a monthly arts and literature review with a readership of more than 30,000. The online publication is linked to regularly by Arts & Letters Daily and 3 Quarks Daily, among other sites.

this is truly a Critical Life; the biography focuses on Woolf’s writing and its relationship with both her own and others’ critical thought – Zoe Wolstenholme, “The bowl that one fills and fills,” Open Letters Monthly, Oct. 1, 2016.

Other new tomes

Also included in the current University of Chicago Press Literature and Criticism Catalog are:literature_15_uchicagopress

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Read here on the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s Library Art and Archives blog about the evolution of Virginia Woolf’s iconic short story Kew Gardens from its first edition with Vanessa Bell woodcut prints through the 1927 publication hand illustrated by Bell and on to RBG Kew’s new edition published in 2015 with contemporary illustrations by Livi Mills.

1927 cover

1927 edition of Kew Gardens held in RBG, Kew’s LAA collection

 

 

 

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We all know that Woolf’s works are notably challenging to read and teach because of her unconventional themes and plots, innovative structures, non-traditional narrative forms, historical and literary allusions, and avant-garde techniques.

approaches to woolfjpgAs a community college teacher of literature, one technique I have found to combat the challenges of teaching Woolf is to review, at the start of each semester, some of the pedagogical guides that help teachers of Woolf bring our students closer to the author, such as Approaches to Teaching Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (2009, edited by Eileen Barrett and Ruth O. Saxton).

But at the start of this fall semester I found myself in a new position in my department and my new office brought new duties, new expectations and new stresses. In my past visions, sitting in my office on my first day as a full-time instructor would feel warm, shiny and successful. I would be hopeful. I would be energetic. I would bring Woolf into every class.

Instead, on the first day of school I sat in the academic room of my own and stared at the photo of Woolf that I taped to my wall and then at the calendar filled with meetings, conferences and due dates. I didn’t feel shiny and hopeful; I felt overwhelmed and exhausted. I didn’t need a new teaching technique this semester. I needed a new inspirational technique.

kew gardensI chose to not review pedagogical guides on Woolf. Instead, I turned to my past students’ responses to “Kew Gardens”. My students’ positive reactions to Woolf reminded me of why we work so hard to bring her words to readers, to challenge our students with unconventional literature and to stimulate students’ imaginations; of why we sometimes dedicate a whole class to discussing beauty; of why we go home felling like failures when some don’t seem to “get it.”

Reading the reactions my community college students in Las Vegas had upon their first encounter with Woolf revived my passion for teaching this challenging author:

I think Woolf is a beautiful writer. Her work is filled with passion, love, beauty and the depth seems to draw in hungry intelligent minds. I appreciate any writer who challenges her readers to think outside of the mundane society around them and see the beauty in their surroundings. -Erica

Virginia Woolf’s writing is so unconventional and brave. It is admirable that she had the courage to break out of formal conventions. All the while, she managed to capture the assortment of everyday interactions in one short story. -Ian

I quite like Kew Gardens! The unconventional plot and intimate look into each character’s conversations not only makes for an interesting read, but made me ponder as to what one might hear if they were to listen in on any one of my personal conversations at any given time. Additionally, while reading Kew Garden’s I couldn’t help but imagine that the brief glimpses of narration must be something like what God hears as he checks in on our lives. –Sara

Where does your passion for Woolf come from?

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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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Two digital resources on Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group were recently made available online.

For links to more Woolf and Bloomsbury resources, check the right sidebar and the Books page.

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