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Posts Tagged ‘Bleeding Heart Square’

Bleeding Heart SquareThe recent conference theme of  Woolf and the City stimulated a number of papers that discussed Virginia Woolf in the context of contemporary writers and their works, making comparisons and noting similarities and influences in authors that included A.S. Byatt, Grace Paley, Zadie Smith, Sandra Cisneros, Ian McEwan and Penelope Lively.

My own presentation, “Beyond the Icon: Virginia Woolf in Contemporary Fiction,” noted just shy of 20 novels and short stories from the 1980s to the present time that contain references to Woolf. But the list keeps growing, and it includes some unexpected sources.

While I’ve focused primarily on literary fiction, a friend’s summer reading is more eclectic, and she sent me the following “sighting” from a recently released mystery, Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor. Early in the novel, which takes place in 1934 London, Lydia leaves her husband and packs A Room of One’s Own in her bag.

“Lydia was reading A Room of One’s Own and feeling increasingly envious of Mrs. Woolf:  ‘My aunt…died by a fall from her horse while she was riding out to take the air in Bombay. The news of my legacy reached me one night about the same time that the act was passed that gave votes to women.  A solicitor’s letter fell into the post-box and when I opened it I found that she had left me five hundred pounds a year for ever. Of the two–the vote and the money–the money, I own, seemed infinitely the more important.’ Five hundred a year? The money shone like a mirage, a littering pile of gold, in Lydia’s mind. If a woman had that, she could do almost anything she wanted” (p. 36).

Read a review of the Taylor novel.

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