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Sure, we’re all rushing around getting ready for the holidays. But with 2017 drawing to a close, here’s a reminder that the call for papers for the 28th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf is open until Feb. 1, 2018.

Topic for the conference, June 21-24 at the University of Kent, is “Virginia Woolf, Europe and Peace.” Get the details. For more, contact vwoolf2018@gmail.com

The latest news is that keynote lectures will be given by Professor Rosi Braidotti of Utrecht University,  Professor Claire Davison of Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3, and Dr. Jane Goldman of the University of Glasgow.

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This banner promoting fundraising for the Virginia Woolf statue was displayed at the banquet at the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf at the University of Reading.

Virginia Woolf will be seated on a bench at Richmond upon Thames, Riverside, for all to see — and sit next to — if a heritage project seeking £50,000 through crowd-funding is successful.

Arts and education charity Aurora Metro launched the project to create the first ever life-sized, full-figure bronze depiction of Woolf. The London Borough of Richmond has recently given the public the opportunity to comment on the proposal via a consultation document on its website. Deadline for commenting is Dec. 10.

Society says sculptor fails to capture Woolf

The executive council of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain has discussed the proposal and told the Borough of Richmond that, although it fully endorses the idea of a full-figure statue of Woolf in the Borough to memorialize the importance of her time there, unfortunately it feels that sculptor Laury Dizengremel has not captured Woolf’s likeness, according to an email the group sent members.  The IVWS membership agrees.

See for yourself

You can see for yourself by visiting the Aurora Metro website, where you can view three photos depicting the statue. You can make a donation at that page as well. The statue project also has a Facebook page.

If you would like to volunteer to help raise funds for the Virginia Woolf statue, contact info@aurorametro.com

Movement for more women

The Woolf statue is part of a movement to see more women memorialized as statues around Great Britain.

In March 2016 in the New Statesman, Caroline Criado-Perez surveyed the nation’s statues by gender and discovered “a mere 2.7 per cent are of historical, non-royal women. If you’re a woman, your best chance at becoming a statue is to be a mythical or allegorical figure, a famous virgin, royal or nude.”

She has also launched a campaign to get a statue of a suffragette erected in Parliament Square and has a petition asking the Mayor of London to do so.

 

 

 

In a Nov. 21 letter to The Guardian, Richard Shone wrote that Jeremy Hutchinson was the last surviving person to have known Virginia Woolf. He was wrong, as Blogging Woolf noted on Facebook. And Cecil Woolf has set him straight.

In his Nov. 26 letter to that same publication Cecil, nephew of Leonard and Virginia, wrote:

Richard Shone’s opening statement in his letter (Obituaries, 21 November) that “Jeremy Hutchinson … was the last surviving person to have known Virginia Woolf”, is not quite correct. I was a schoolboy when I visited my aunt Virginia and my uncle Leonard (one of my father’s elder brothers) at both Monk’s House and at Tavistock Square, or they visited my family in Buckinghamshire.

Cecil shared his memories of Leonard and Virginia in his monograph The Other Boy at the Hogarth Press, published in June by his own London publishing house, after celebrating his 90th birthday on Feb. 20.

Cecil Woolf at 46 Gordon Square, London

I have a large home. With lots of stuff. And though I feel obliged to regularly dispose of things — pawning them off on friends, donating them to charity shops, dropping them into the recycle bin — sometimes I just can’t resist adding a new possession. Particularly when it comes to Virginia Woolf.

I searched her name on Amazon this week and found this candle. I was tempted to buy it until I found what I considered a better one on Etsy.

Virginia Woolf Sainted Writers Secular Prayer Candle

Called the Virginia Woolf Sainted Writers Secular Prayer Candle, it comes with your choice of prayer printed on the back, a book charm fastened around the top, and an unscented soy candle that burns for up to 80 hours inside.

I immediately placed my order. It was impossible to resist our beloved Virginia dressed in a nun’s habit, holding a copy of the Penguin edition of A Room of One’s Own, and this sales pitch:

Before you write, seek passion and clarity from Saint Virginia by lighting this unscented white prayer candle.

Your choice of prayers

Currently available prayers, copied from the Etsy shop web page of Sainted Writers owner Michelle, are:

✑ prayer for essay writers
✑ prayer for readers
✑ prayer for creative writers
✑ prayer for prelims exam success
✑ prayer for dissertation writers
✑ prayer for thesis writers
✑ your choice of text (please leave a note with up to 100 words and any special instructions)

I chose the Reader’s Prayer. May it bring me illumination in these troubled times.

 

I bought my first collection of Virginia Woolf’s short fiction in Brighton as an undergraduate on a study trip to “Bloomsbury in Sussex” (Charleston, Monks House, the river Ouse). Its cover, a detail from the painting Synthesis of the Supper Room at an Arts Club Reception by the Scottish post-impressionist Stanley Cursiter, patchworks together people and coffee cups, giving a sense of immediacy, of the fleeting moment, of lived experience. This depiction of the experience of consciousness, as Woolf put it in her essay “Modern Fiction,” the intention to “record the atoms as they fall upon the mind,” is also what draws me back to her short fiction.

Read the entire essay on the website of Open Letters Monthly: An Arts and Literature Review.

Virginia Woolf’s entreaties in A Room of One’s Own were directed to women, urging them to write. To write all kinds of books, to write whatever they wish. She said: “When I ask you to write more books I am urging you to do what will be for your good and for the good of the world at large.”

The authors of two recent essay collections are living Woolf’s legacy. Jericho Parms and Durga Chew-Bose acknowledge the footprints that precede them, and their successful debuts are a gift to today’s readers.

I was struck repeatedly in Jericho Parms’s collection, Lost Wax, by word constructions and rhythms that brought Woolf to mind, especially in her contemplations of memory and the self. It was no surprise to read in an interview: “I first fell in love with the essay and the unending possibility of the form from reading the works of Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, James Baldwin, and Virginia Woolf.” She mentions Moments of Being as a major influence, and it’s evident in reflections about her own life.

The final essay in Lost Wax is “Immortal Wound,” in which Parms ponders a dead luna moth and relates it to human mortality, to the recognition that one can expire “in a moment unobserved, as if it never came to pass.” Woolf had witnessed her moth’s death, and Parms says, “I envied Woolf her day moth zigzagging against a windowpane.”

The title of Durga Chew-Bose’s book of essays, Too Much and Not the Mood, comes from Woolf’s diary entry of April 11, 1931. Woolf is bogged down in making corrections to a number of her articles. She’s working with a faulty pen, for starters, “And not much to say, or rather too much & not the mood.”

The prose in these essays evokes Woolf’s interiority and love of language. I underlined phrase after phrase, passage after passage, as Chew-Bose, like a moth herself, lights here and there, pausing on family and friendship, on James Baldwin and Nina Simone and the young Al Pacino, on her name and her voice and her skin color.

The opening essay, “Heart Museum,” is a 90-page abstract meditation, in which she likens writing to body language, to “a woman narrowing her eyes to express incredulity,” to “an elbow propped on the edge of a table when you’re wrapping up an argument,” to “a closed pistachio shell.” In which she describes her version of happiness as “curling up inside the bends of parentheses,” and in which the odds and ends on a friend’s dressing table represent “a parish of miscellany,” “a village of items.”

The essay is alive and well, and women’s writing in all genres is more wide-ranging and abundant than even Virginia Woolf might have imagined.

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