When Roger Fry spotted Vanessa and Clive Bell in the Cambridge railway station in 1910, here’s what was going on in his life.
On Twitter yesterday, I discovered a World War I mystery featuring Virginia Woolf, a paperback copy of my first Mrs. Dalloway for sale, and a Twitter user,who is doing something unique — posting a line from The Waves each day.
You can scroll down to see all three — and at the end of your scroll you’ll see the lovely Virginia Woolf’s English Hours by Peter Tolhurst, which I received from Black Dog Books (mistakenly identified as Black Dog Press in my tweet) just last Friday. Review to come.
— extremely shocking p (@recasensservio) September 13, 2015
— extremely stunning d (@riosilvano3) September 12, 2015
desire; without envy; with what would be boundless curiosity about
— V. Woolf (@the__waves) September 14, 2015
This just arrived from Black Dog Books in England: Virginia Woolf’s English Hours by Peter Tolhurst pic.twitter.com/2Hi9jMeCTt
— Blogging Woolf (@woolfwriter) September 12, 2015
Alexandra Harris’s long-awaited Weatherland: Writers and Artists Under English Skies, published by Thames & Hudson, is due out in the UK this week and will be published in the U.S. on Feb. 15, 2016.
On Woolf and weather
Woolf and weather has been a subject dear to my heart since I enrolled in an interdisciplinary graduate program at Kent State University in 2001. The introductory course for the Master of Liberal Studies Program focused on weather. And when we read about England’s Great Frost, I immediately recalled those scenes from Woolf’s Orlando.
When I had read the novel years earlier, I thought Woolf had imagined the weather scenes. Happily, I discovered I was wrong. This made me wonder what Woolf knew about weather, how weather affected her, and how she used it in her writing.
I went on to research and write about Woolf and weather for Cecil Woolf Publishers. At the time, there was nothing written on the subject, so it was wide open for inquiry. I read Ruskin, explored J.M.W. Turner’s art for its depiction of weather, read weather journals kept by rural residents, explored the history of weather science, and looked up weather data from Woolf’s time and Orlando’s. I searched Woolf’s novels, diaries, and letters for reference to weather, finally turning to her essays, where I discovered her theories about weather and literature.
Cecil published my monograph, Reading the Skies in Virginia Woolf: Woolf on Weather in Her Essays, Her Diaries and Three of Her Novels, in 2009. But I knew I had only scratched the surface.
Harris on Woolf and weather
Harris has been researching and writing about weather and literature for years. She spoke about Woolf and weather at the 2012 Woolf conference in Saskatoon and has published several pieces on the topic. This year, she gave the Virginia Woolf Birthday Lecture, delivered at Senate House in London, on “Woolf in Winter.” It was published by the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain. And on Feb. 15, 2014, she published ‘Drip, drip, drip’, a lead article in The Guardian, on the topical subject of rain in literature.
Now Harris’s new book promises to uncover so much more about Woolf’s use of weather and the role weather plays in English literature from the eighth century onward. In a June 2012 email to me, she promised her book would include a chapter on Woolf. Harris’s Sept. 11 piece in The Guardian, “Making the Weather in English Writing and Art,” gives us a taste.
Harris will team up with Frances Spalding for the book launch at the London Review Bookshop, where it is displayed in their windows, on Wednesday. She will also give a lecture on the topic at the British Museum on Oct. 19.
In a sweeping panorama, Weatherland allows us to witness England’s cultural climates across the centuries . . . Weatherland is a celebration of English air and a life story of those who have lived in it. -Thames & Hudson
Posted in Virginia Woolf, Woolf and the natural world | Tagged Alexandra Harris, English literature and art, Virginia Woolf, Weatherland: Writers and Artists Under English Skies, Woolf and weather | Leave a Comment »
This week and next, Charleston interns Alice Purkiss and Samantha Wilson, will give free public talks about their research at the farmhouse known as “Bloomsbury in the country,” that focus upon items uncovered in the Angelica Garnett Gift.
The Spotlight Lectures will be held Sept. 10 and Sept 17 at 1 p.m.
One day, as I sat at my laptop in a room of my own, my eight-year-old twin grandchildren pulled Virginia Woolf down from her shelf, grabbed Wonder Woman, and had the two battling each other, as well as Spiderman and Aquaman.
When Woolf seemed to be losing against the comic book heroes, I told my grandchildren that she had a superpower of her own: The power of the pen. That stopped them in their tracks.
Now a company called Little Giants is launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund a toy line that will include Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi and Andy Warhol.
Yes, all four figures are men — and three out of four are white. But the company says that if all goes well, it will add Woolf to the lineup, along with Frieda Kahlo.
I want to see that. And maybe my grandchildren will too.
A Walk of One’s Own: Virginia Woolf on Foot is available on the BBC Radio 4 website.
The four walks feature 15 minutes of audio from a sometimes breathless Alexandra Harris as she follows Woolf across favorite paths, accompanied by such guests as Woolf biographer Hermione Lee and Scarlet Baron of University College London. The walks cover Woolf territory in Spain, Kensington Gardens, Cornwall and Sussex.
Harris’s audio includes background sounds — of seagulls, waves, boots crunching on the path — all set off by references to Woolf prose.
As writer Michael Bird says as he accompanies Harris on the Cornwall walk, “I brought my copy of To the Lighthouse and suddenly it makes sense.”
Local history is part of the programs, too, as the walkers discuss such things as the age of the cliffs and the reach of the Godrevy Lighthouse beam as they traipse along.
They also describe the scenery — from the mica particles in the rock to the shimmer of the water — as they speculate about Woolf’s walking habits.
The bit I have listened to so far has given me goose bumps. But of course I am touched by all things related to Virginia and her crowd. I even liked Life in Squares.
Encouraging news has arrived from the UK. The proposed development that threatened to destroy Virginia Woolf’s view of Godrevy Lighthouse from Talland House, has stalled.
The move comes after Woolf scholars and common readers from around the globe raised an outcry using email, social media and the Web. Their efforts generated media coverage that included the BBC and resulted in the Cornwall Council Planning Committee postponing its decision on the project.
Now a helpful source from Cornwall Council emailed this news to Woolf scholar Maggie Humm: “The application has been affected by the affordable housing changes…at this stage the application is not likely to go to the planning committee.”
Here’s what this means. In November 2014, the Conservative (Tory) Party ruled that developments of 10 or less could avoid paying an affordable-housing levy or offering any such housing in their development. Humm said this provision offered licence for any developer.
In early August, the High Court threw out this legislation, so the developer of the St. Ives project, which included a six-story block of six flats and a car park to be constructed in front of Talland House, must rethink the economic viability of the project and resubmit it.
In addition, a local resident forwarded Blogging Woolf an email from English Heritage saying legislation includes a provision to “avoid harm to the setting of a listed building if it contributes to the significance of the building.” Talland House is considered Grade II, which means it is “nationally important and of special interest. The St. Ives resident cited National Planning Framework Section 12 paras. 128,9,132 and noted that he would add this information to the planning comments page for the project, PA15/04337.
Woolf and her family summered at Talland House for the first 12 years of her life. The lighthouse she could see from her summer home plays an integral role in her famous novel To the Lighthouse (1927).
Plus here is more good news that indicates the St. Ives Town Council may be taking the preservation of local history more seriously: The Council recently voted down a different application to build on an ancient site.