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This podcast on the Times Literary Supplement website includes a discussion of Virginia Woolf’s April 29, 1937, BBC broadcast of her eight-minute talk, “Craftsmanship.”

In it, American Woolf scholar Emily Kopley fills us in on the context and background of Woolf’s third BBC radio talk. Fast forward to 35:30 to hear Kopley put the talk in context, which the moderator describes as “rather loaded.”

You can also read Kopley’s commentary on the topic, “At the Service of Words,” which was posted on April 27 and is no longer behind the paywall.

Back in 2002, I went to see the fabulous Picasso Portraits exhibit at the Tate Modern. Harper' Bazaar VB coverWhile eating the brownie with ice cream and fudge sauce in the café, I filled out the museum’s feedback card, …

Source: ‘Such Friends’:  Vanessa Bell’s Six Rooms of Her Own | SuchFriends Blog

Editor’s Note: This essay, written in March of this year, was contributed by Mine Özyurt Kılıç, a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard University and co-organizer of Harvard’s May 10 event, A Press of One’s Own: Celebrating 100 Years of Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press. At Harvard, she currently investigates the connection between the ethical and aesthetic components of short fiction. Her research mostly focuses on contemporary British fiction with special interest in women’s writing. She is the author of the first book-length study on Maggie Gee’s fictionMaggie Gee: Writing the Condition-of-England Novel (Bloomsbury 2013). This academic celebration brings her back to her master’s thesis on the theme of failure in love in T. S. Eliot’s poetry as well as to her lectures on British Modernism.

The snail is a seal of the Hogarth Press, a signature of its focus on nature and the natural against the industrialized literary marketplace! Like this snail with its home on its back, The Hogarth married private and public life with a letterpress machine on a dining table. And that has made all the difference!

The snail that makes its appearance on the first publication of the Hogarth Press, “The Mark on the Wall” (1917), is the very emblem of the Woolfs’ mission. Like Schumacher’s claim for the economy “Small is Beautiful”, the Woolfs suggest that in “express[ing] the rapidity of life, the perpetual waste and repair”: Slow is beautiful!

This first Woolf story they publish can also be read as a fictional manifestation of Woolf’s ars poetica. The narrator first situates herself in the world understanding one truth about it– “what an airless, shallow, bald, prominent world it becomes! A world not to be lived in” — then discerns her calling in it:

I want to think quietly, calmly, spaciously, never to be interrupted, never to have to rise from my chair, to slip easily from one thing to another, without any sense of hostility, or obstacle. I want to sink deeper and deeper, away from the surface, with its hard separate facts.

This quiet, calm, spacious, and uninterrupted mode of deep thinking is the very engine behind Woolf’s Modernist texts that require a different mode of reading, a deliberately slow and effortful one that is like the movements of a crawling snail. The central motif in the story, also visually reproduced in Dora Carrington’s woodcut print to accompany the text, the snail is one of the many lives that the narrator feels committed to describe in detail.

[…] there are a million patient, watchful lives still for a tree, all over the world, in bedrooms, in ships, on the pavement, lining rooms, where men and women sit after tea, smoking cigarettes. It is full of peaceful thoughts, happy thoughts, this tree. I should like to take each one separately.

In a later Woolf story “Kew Gardens” (1919), the snail now becomes one of the central consciousnesses. A single figure among those visitors coming from different walks of life, it makes its way around the flowerbed, thinking whether it is better to move or not, drawing the reader’s attention to the minutiae of everyday life, to a moment of being, from a major to a minor key. As such, it becomes a sign of a special state of consciousness slow enough to attend to details, to the cotton wool of daily life, to moments of being, to epiphanies, to fragments shored against ruins, to marks on walls, flowers, images and smells that memory brings from distant times and places.

In the idiom of Woolf’s snail, the early Hogarth draws its readers’ attention to an eccentric, marginal and extraordinary vision that necessitates a reading slow enough to digest and savor millions of surrounding lives.

A Press of One’s Own: Celebrating 100 Years of Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press,  a one-time event celebrating the centennial of the Hogarth Press, will be held on Wednesday, May 10, at Harvard University.

The multi-disciplinary and interactive celebration includes an exhibition of the original early Hogarth books and a round-table discussion at Houghton Library, as well as a hands-on letterpress workshop at the Harvard-related Bow & Arrow Press in Cambridge.

The exhibition will be followed by a seminar with three speakers who will talk about the different aspects of the Hogarth venture and its publications. The final stage is the printing workshop, during which a passage from “The Mark on the Wall,” the first product of the Hogarth (July 1917) will be reprinted.

Organizers hope that the event will raise questions not only about the historic venture of the Woolfs and their circle, but also about the role of independent publishing today.

Nowhere else could we have started the Hogarth Press, whose very awkward beginning had rise in this very room […] Here that strange offspring grew & throve; it ousted us from the dining room […] & crept all over the house. And people have been here, thousands of them it seems to me” – Virginia Woolf’s Diary, 9 January 1924

A thank you from Cecil Woolf

Cecil Woolf at 46 Gordon Square, London

When we posted the news that Cecil Woolf, nephew of Leonard and Virginia, was celebrating his 90th birthday on Feb. 20, it traveled far and wide.

Cecil, the oldest living relative of the Woolfs, received birthday greetings from around the world. And because he doesn’t have his own website or use social media, he asked Blogging Woolf to share this message of gratitude.

Cecil Woolf sends warmest thanks to all the very kind Woolfean well-wishers who sent him birthday greetings last month. They quite truly made my day. Thank you all very much indeed.

The new deadline of June 30 has been set for the upcoming  special issue of Virginia Woolf Miscellany (#92, Fall 2017). It seeks essays considering Woolf’s oeuvre in dialogue with works by Native American, First Nations, Australian, and New Zealander authors, among others.

Questions to consider:

  • What kind of dialogic emerges when placing Woolf’s writings alongside those of indigenous writers?
  • How might indigenous literatures enhance interpretations of Woolf’s modernist, feminist, and pacifist poetics?
  • How might such comparisons affect or inform understandings of subjectivity in women’s lives and literature, and the interconnections between narrative innovation and socio-political activism?
  • Does Woolf’s ecological vision align with those of indigenous writers responding to threats of global destruction and mass extinctions?
  • Could such comparative and intersectional work chip away at the boundaries still often imposed upon literary studies-the “West” versus the “Rest”?

Other approaches are welcome.

How to submit: Please send submissions of no more than 2,500 words, including notes and works cited, in the latest version of Word to: Kristin Czarnecki, kristin_czarnecki@georgetowncollege.edu.

Deadline for submission: Extended to June 30.

Susan Sellers moves from essay writing to creative writing with her next workshop from Literature Cambridge.

Susan Sellers

The program’s Creative Writing Workshop will be May 13, 2-6 p.m. at Stapleford Granary, Cambridge. The fee is £75 and includes afternoon tea.

Susan Sellers is well known to Woolfians for her academic work, and also as the author of Vanessa and Virginia, a remarkable novel about the sisters’ relationship.

The workshop will allow writers to improve their writing skills and learn more about available  publication opportunities for writers of fiction.

Literature Cambridge is also offering two Woolf courses for summer 2017.

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