In memoriam to Louise DiSalvo

Louise DiSalvo, Virginia Woof and feminist scholar, essayist and memoir writer, died Oct. 31 in Montclair, New Jersey. She was 76.

In Woolf circles, the professor of English and creative writing at Hunter College was probably best known for her book Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Her Life and Work (1989). The Women’s Review of Books named it one of the most important books of the 20th century.

Read her full obituary in The New York Times or the family’s version where condolences can be left in the Montclair, N.J. Star-Ledger.



Barbara Lounsberry’s volumes on Virginia Woolf’s diaries are available at a deep discount from the University of Florida Press through Dec. 7.

The volumes include Becoming Virginia Woolf ($18), Virginia Woolf’s Modernist Path ($35), and Virginia Woolf, the War Without, the War Within ($40).

Order online by visiting the UFP website and entering the discount code MSA18 at checkout. You can also download the flyer.

The latest issue of the Virginia Woolf Miscellany is now online. Issue 93, Fall/Winter 2018 has been posted to WordPress at this link.

Guest-edited by Michael Lackey and Todd Avery, the issue focuses on the special topic of Virginia Woolf and Biofiction. In addition, the issue features a section dedicated to Jane Marcus Feminist University: The Document Record, the event honoring Jane Marcus that was organized by J. Ashley Foster, Cori L. Gabbard and Conor Tomás Reed and held at CUNY Graduate Center on Sept. 9, 2016. 

Also included in the issue are book reviews by Danielle Gilman, Steve Ferebee, Elisa Bolchi, Jeanette McVicker, and Stephen Barkway as well as the Call for Papers for the 29th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, organized by Drew Shannon.

Other issues of the VWM can be found on the Virginia Woolf Mischellany website.

Now you can plan ahead. News of the dates and location of the 30th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf is in. This milestone conference will be held June 11-14, 2020, at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota.

Benjamin D. Hagen, assistant professor in the Department of English, is organizing the event. More details will follow.

The 29th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf will be held at Mount St. Joseph University, Cincinnati, Ohio, June 6-9, 2019.

Words are important. Writers know that. Now researchers are using words to create algorithms to help prevent suicide. And they are basing their research on Virginia Woolf’s use of words in her writing before she drowned by walking into the River Ouse on March 28, 1941.VW Diary Vol. 5

Researchers from St. Joseph’s Healthcare, McMaster University and the University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil have analyzed that writing to create a word cloud from the 46 documents Woolf wrote during the last two months of her life, along with a cloud created from random samplings from 54 of her letter and diary entries prior to that period.

Reading the clouds

The contrast is stark, explains Dr. Diego Librenza-Garcia, a post-doctoral fellowship at the university in Brazil. 

The cloud compiled from her writing during the final months of her life includes such words as: little, miss, war, nothing, never, can’t and don’t, negative words that indicate Woolf’s hopelessness.

In contrast, the cloud compiled from happier times in Woolf’s life, frequently used words such as love, tomorrow, nice, hope and good.

The researchers created a “text classification algorithm” unique to Woolf’s vocabulary and concluded it would have been able to predict her suicide with 80.45 per cent accuracy. – The Spectator

An app that would build algorithms

The researchers hope to design an app that would build an algorithm for each individual patient that will analyze texts, emails and social media posts of at-risk patients who have consented to participate, so their caregivers can be alerted when intervention is needed to prevent suicide, according to an article in The Spectator

The research team’s study was published Oct. 24 in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal.

The Years and The Years

The Years is, of course, Virginia Woolf’s 1937 novel. The Years (Les Années) (2008) is also a memoir by French novelist Annie Ernaux. Intrigued—coincidence or connection?—and enticed by reviews, I read Ernaux’s memoir and was captivated.

She tells her story without using the pronoun “I,” yet her voice is clear and consistent throughout. And her recollections are my own too. Relating her life by means of “we” and “they,” the narrative stands as a collective memoir of a generation, hers and mine. I also found several links, both direct and implied, between Ernaux and Woolf.

I’m grateful to the editors of Bloom, who gave me an enthusiastic go-ahead on this project and provided it with a home. You can read my essay, “The Years by Annie Ernaux: Memoir of a Generation.”

Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own has inspired a two-story bronze sculpture, “Beyond Thinking,” which apparently has a double meaning and is prompting discussion on social media and beyond.

It will be unveiled at Newnham College, Cambridge, on the 70th anniversary of the first degree ceremony for its female graduates, held in 1948.

Positioned at the entrance to the College’s new Dorothy Garrod building, named after the pioneering archeologist, the sculpture is the first thing that students and visitors will see.

Artist Cathy de Monchaux commissioned artwork inspired by Virgina Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s own’ at Newnham College, Cambridge photographed by Alun Callender.

Former Turner Prize nominee Cathy de Monchaux, who is known for using vulvas in her work, created the piece, which stands out in relief from a wall and repeats an intricate motif. It is one that — depending upon the viewer — can be seen as a vulva or an open book.

While The Guardian reported that the sculpture depicts the female vulva, the college says it depicts a tower of books.

Two views

The sculpture is “standing out in relief from a wall . . . [and] repeats an intricate genital motif which can also be seen as an open book, the pages lined with the branches of a tree of knowledge,” writes The Guardian.

The sculpture “shows a vertical column of open books set into the fabric of the building. Instead of words, a vine-like structure is embedded in the pages. The spine of each open book holds a female figure gazing out at the world,” says the college news release.

Take the poll

You can decide for yourself by viewing additional photos and taking the online poll available on this CambridgshireLive post.

A Room of One’s Own (1929) was based on a talk Woolf gave to the female students of Newnham and Girton Colleges, Cambridge, in 1928.


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