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First, there was the conference. Then came the party. In London. With the Woolfs.

On the Monday evening following days one, two, three, and four of the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson hosted a party in London for their visiting Woolfian friends who remained in town.

I was happy to be among them. But I was chagrined to arrive on their doorstep 20 minutes early due to lightning fast service by my Uber driver.

Cecil and Jean, however, didn’t blink when they answered my too-early knock. They ushered me in and escorted me up the stairs, past stacks of books from their Bloomsbury Heritage Series and a smattering of hats from Jean’s famous collection.

Cecil poured me a glass of wine and settled me in their persimmon-colored sitting room that is casually decorated with original Bloomsbury art by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It was magical.

Cecil and Jean are tremendous hosts who know how to make each guest feel specially welcome, no matter when they arrive. They created a wonderful evening full of camaraderie, good food, and drink, while introducing us to their daughter Emma Woolf, author of numerous books and a regular BBC contributor.

Afterward, when thinking about the evening, a quote came to mind that perfectly captures the mood and magic of the evening.

No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself. – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929)

Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson hosted a post-conference party at their London home, which also houses Cecil Woolf Publishers.

This side table decorated by Duncan Grant held appetizers, as well as my little Virginia. #travelswithvirginiawoolf

Cecil Woolf and daughter Emma Woolf at the party.

Louise Higham, Suzanne Bellamy, John McCoy, and Eleanor McNees (far right) were among the party guests.

A firescreen painted by Duncan Grant.

Bloomsbury art above the fireplace, along with a piece by Suzanne Bellamy and a photo of Jean.

Judith Allen and her husband Steve.

More Bloomsbury art.

 

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A website and a Facebook page, dubbed the Isaac Rosenberg Statue Appeal, have been set up to help raise funds to erect a statue in honor of the noted World War I poet and artist.

Organizers Emma Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson, author of Isaac Rosenberg: The Making of a Great War Poet: A New Life, say Rosenberg has not received the widespread recognition he deserves as one of the greatest of the First World War poets.

Writers of his generation would agree. T. S. Eliot called him the “most remarkable” of the World War I poets. Siegfried Sassoon called him “a genius.”

The statue will be erected at Torrington Square on the Birkbeck College campus in Bloomsbury by April 1, 2018, the centenary of his death.

Organizers will launch a crowdfunding site to help raise funds for the statue, which is expected to cost £92,000. Donation can also be made by post, with checks made payable to Jeecs-Rosenberg Statue appeal, c/o Clive Bettington, P.O. Box 57317, London E1 3WG.

Rosenberg

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Most of the reactions below come via Twitter, where “Life in Squares” was a trending topic after the first episode aired last night with an audience of between 1.85 and 1.9 million UK viewers.

In the aftermath, one must-read review is by Frances Spalding, acclaimed biographer of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. Her piece on The Conversation website is titled “Life in Squares: how the radical Bloomsbury Group fares on screen.”

Here’s a quote from it:

Her despairing cry may be echoed by some viewers of the BBC’s three-part series Life in Squares, for the Bloomsbury Group attracts many detractors as well as legions of devotees. — Frances Spalding

Be sure to click on the comments below to read Maggie Humm’s assessment of Spalding’s review, along with her own insights.

Family reaction

Before the official premiere, Emma Woolf, great-niece of Leonard and Virginia Woolf, penned her reaction for The Daily Mail: “How TV’s got my aunt Virginia Woolf so wrong.”

And Vanessa Bell’s granddaughter, Cressida Bell, posted this on Facebook the morning after:

Cressida Bell

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We who love Virginia Woolf know that she was multi-dimensional. We know that she was more than a serious writer who had bouts of madness. We know she could joke and laugh and enjoy life. We also know she could be gossipy and mean and petty. Basically, we recognize the fact that she was human. And perhaps that is why we love her so very much.

Emma Woolf, Virginia and Leonard’s great-nice and the daughter of publisher Cecil Woolf, has written a piece for Newsweek that describes Virginia’s many nuances. In “The Joyful, Gossipy and Absurd Private Life of Virginia Woolf,” Emma writes of Virginia’s Letting-Go-books-300x300experiences authoring The Voyage Out (1915), her subsequent breakdown, and the speculation surrounding her sexual life — or lack of one — with husband Leonard. She touches on her feminism, her pacifism and her anti-nationalism. She mentions Virginia’s diary entries that describe everyday life experiences — celebrating her birthday, buying a new dress and her trip to see a printing press.

Emma’s Feb. 13 essay covers a lot of ground, more than I can summarize here, and it does so with the sensitivity one should expect from a family member. So I recommend reading it for yourself.

Then consider picking up Emma’s new book, Letting Go: How to Heal Your Hurt, Love Your Body and Transform Your Life. The book’s title and description speak of the important lessons it contains about letting go of our perfectionism and embracing our own humanity, much as we embrace Virginia’s.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this quote from Virginia that Emma includes in her Newsweek essay. It seems to sum up — and embrace — what so many women want today. And what we all deserve.

I want everything – love, children, adventure, intimacy, work.

 

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Emma Woolf

Emma Woolf

This round of Woolf sightings includes the sightings (16-19) of a live Woolf, Emma Woolf, the daughter of Leonard and Virginia’s nephew, Cecil Woolf and author Jean Moorcroft Wilson.

Her book, The Ministry of Thin: How the Pursuit of Perfection Got Out of Control, was published June 3. She is also the author of An Apple A Day: A Memoir of Love and Recovery From Anorexia. Her eponymous column is published by The Times.

Emma wrote about her Great Aunt Virginia in a May 25 piece in The Mail in which she shares her father’s reminiscences about Virginia, along with quotes from letters, diaries and biographical material regarding her aunt’s illnesses and eating habits.

  1. Why Doesn’t Mrs. Dalloway Get a Day of Her Own?Slate Magazine
    This year, a handful of literary folk in London celebrated another modernist masterpiece, Virginia Woolf’s slender Mrs. Dalloway—which also takes place on a single day in June—by taking a walk around London. They walked “in the spirit of Bloomsday 
  2. 10 things we learned from the London 2014 menswear collections, The Guardian
    Meadham Kirchhoff’s collection, inspired in part by Virginia Woolf’s gender-blending novel Orlando, had twisted cute accessories – rubber carrier bags covered with brightly coloured felt animals – that will definitely have female fans too. Sharing a 
  3. Guess who’s coming to dinnerSouth China Morning Post
    In Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf devotes the entire book to describing a house party. In the 1967 classic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, the taboo subject of interracial marriage is dealt with at one of Hollywood’s most memorable suppers. Dinner parties 
  4. Virginia Woolf: The Charleston Bulletin SupplementsThe GuardianCharleston Bulletin Supplements
    In late 1923, Virginia Woolf was writing Mrs Dalloway. She had got to the “mad scene” in Regent’s Park; it was intense and disturbing work. But there were all sorts of other things going on in her life, and here is one of them: she was collaborating 
  5. Virginia Woolf and Quentin Bell’s Charleston Bulletin supplements – in picturesThe Guardian
    When the 13-year-old Quentin Bell asked his aunt, Virginia Woolf, to contribute to a magazine he was putting together for his family it was the beginning of a collaboration which lasted for five years. Take a look at some of the highlights from the 
  6. Couture presentsher Senior NovelMorning Sentinel
    These presentations are the culmination of intensive research and writing on a major English-language novel and are required of all senior English majors in order to satisfy degree requirements. Couture passed her presentation on Virginia Woolf’s
  7. Still a long way to go to full equalityThis is Nottingham
    But, as novelist Virginia Woolf told female undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge, having the vote was not enough. . To achieve equality, women needed both financial independence and “space”. This underlines the continuing tension hindering 
  8. Room of his own: Man caves thrive
    San Jose Mercury News
    Nearly a century ago, Virginia Woolf argued that a woman needed a room of her own. What would she say now that it’s men who are demanding more than a workbench in the corner of a cluttered garage? “Men are actively pursuing retreat spaces in their 
  9. Rare TS Eliot book under hammer
    Littlehampton Gazette
    The book was published by the Hogarth Press, a private press founded by Eliot’s friends Leonard andVirginia Woolf, with the type thought to be hand-set by Virginia. It is an edition of about 460 copies. It was donated to Oxfam by Colin Cohen who was 
  10. ‘I will not recommend this book to anyone, not even my enemies’: The Internet 
    New York Daily News (blog)
    Using Amazon and Goodreads as its sources, “Love Reading, Hate Books” aggregates one-star reviews of everyone from Virginia Woolf (“I really didn’t care if they made it to the lighthouse or not”) to Beowulf (“Did the ideas of holes in the plot never 
  11. Karen Russell: All fiction is autobiographical, Salon
    Those are the kinds of authors that Karen Russell admires (she cites Flannery O’Connor and Virginia Woolf among them), and it’s the kind of writer she happens to be. Russell has been hailed for her “original voice” ever since she published her first 
  12. Beat Generation brought to life in new showKent News
    Their last production was Because Of The Moon, a play about Virginia Woolf. The play focuses on the Beat Generation writers of the 1950s, including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, whose lifestyles and work was based on drugs, sex 
  13. Odd Type WritersHuffington Post
    As a young writer Virginia Woolf preferred to stand while she wrote. Her desk was three and a half feet tall. Quentin Bell, Woolf’s nephew, concluded that the habit was spurred by sibling rivalry. Woolf’s sister Vanessa was an artist who painted at an 
  14. A tale of ordinary madnessThe Independent
    My early heroines had been Sylvia Plath and her Bell Jar, Virginia Woolf before The Hours, andWinona Ryder in Girl, Interrupted. Their breakdowns were a rite of passage for the posh, liberal and bohemian. These were my poster-girls (and they were 
  15. Soldier’s HomeWall Street Journal
    Post-traumatic stress disorder, what was once known as shell shock or battle fatigue, has been memorably depicted in fiction—from Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway” to William Wharton’s “Birdy” to Philip Caputo’s “Indian Country.” Yet because these 
  16. Room to writeWorld Magazine
    Virginia Woolf insisted that in order for a woman to write she needed money and a room of her own. So upon graduating from college, I set out to make a room of my own to write in. I chose an available space in the top of the family shed that had 
  17. What We’re ReadingNew York Times (blog)ministry of thin
    The Guardian: Virginia Woolf’s great-niece, a recovered anorexic, suggests that her aunt also had from the disease. This adds yet another layer of poignancy and complexity to a woman who once wrote, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one 
  18. Book News: Amazon’s Bubbles, Semicolon RapNew Yorker (blog)
    Virginia Woolf’s great-niece says that she believes her great-aunt suffered from anorexia. In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Leo Braudy on the new documentary “Plimpton! Starring George Plimptonas Himself” and Plimpton’s “tantalizing blend of 
  19. Virginia Woolf was anorexic, claims great nieceThe Guardian
    Virginia Woolf‘s great niece has suggested that her great aunt suffered from anorexia nervosa. Emma Woolf, who has written a memoir of her own recovery from the eating disorder, says she experienced a “painful moment of recognition” when she saw a 
  20. Did great-aunt Virginia Woolf have anorexia? Her great niece, a former Daily Mail
    However, it was during Virginia’s third breakdown in 1913, aged 31, less than a year after her marriage to the writer and publisher Leonard Woolf, that signs of anorexia become apparent: ‘The most difficult and distressing problem was to get Virginia 
  21. iHeart Locket Digitally Protects Your Girls’ DiaryTechlicious (blog)iheart-locket-300px
    From Virginia Woolf to DJ Tanner, keeping a diary has long been a rite of passage for girls. Now, a company named DanoToys is trying to bring the diary into the 21st century with the iHeart Locket, a Bluetooth-powered necklace that unlocks a journaling 
  22. Parallels and paradoxes in Israeli artist’s one-woman group showHaaretz
    In this part it is possible to see some of her most beautiful and important works, among them “The Circle by Virginia” (1975-1976), which refers to Virginia Woolf and appears in two versions (two-dimensional and three-dimensional), and the work 
  23. Review: Kate Tempest at Lyric 2013ForgeToday
    Tempest Kate Tempest is an act who truly encompasses what Lyric is all about; alternative and thoroughly modern. Tempest cites her key influences as including Virginia Woolf, William Blake and Wu-Tang Clan. A cacophony of literary references mixed with 
  24. Eat That, GalanosDrift | Perspective(s) in surfing
    Using Ernest Hemingway’s reflective line as a title and the words of Virginia Woolf and local surf pro Alan Stokes in voice over ‘EAT THAT, GALANOS’ peeks at man’s nocturnal relationship with the ocean and as surfing as an inconsequential by-product of 
  25. The Trials Of Radclyffe Hall by Diana Souhami – reviewThe GuardianThe-Trials-of-Radclyffe-Hall
    Hall’s novel The Well of Loneliness – a gloomy account of the struggles of a “congenital invert” that even sympathetic writers such as Virginia Woolf struggled to defend artistically – was put on trial under the Obscene Publications Act in 1928 
  26. Krista: Making a case for the classicsCincinnati.com
    Contemporary romance writer Debbie Macomber may fill two shelves while literary giant Virginia Woolfis, alas, still searching for some room of her own. Now, no one loves Dostoyevsky more than a library, and if you request a classic, it will be sent to 
  27. The Woman Upstairs, By Claire MessudThe Independent
    Nora finds inspiration in sharing a studio with her and begins working on a series of miniature rooms of iconic women artists on the edge – Emily Dickinson visited by “the angelic muse, her beloved death”,Virginia Woolf at Rodmell writing her suicide 
  28. Pierrot LunairHuffington Post
    Wayne’s Pierrot Lunaire assumes that the New York School that it constantly refers to is the center of everyone’s world: a world in which Susan Sontag and Virginia Woolf interact with Mae West, Patty Duke and Diana Vreeland through the lens of a newly 

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Emma WoolfIt’s the season of light. Of peace. Of joy. But in the face of Friday’s heartbreaking tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, an essay by Emma Woolf, daughter of Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson, seems specially poignant.

Titled “An Apple a Day: A Special Anniversary,” the piece was published in The Times on Nov. 20. It tells the story of the goodbyes she has said to loved ones who have passed on. And it ends with a quote from Virginia Woolf: “Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.”

But before it ends, Emma shares this wisdom: “[L]ife is precious. Now more than ever is a time for new beginnings.”

Amen.

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Among the 29 Woolf sightings of the past two weeks is one that connects Virginia to American baseball. Scroll down to #19 for details. The Broadway reference is in #5, and several others refer to Bloomsbury.

  1. Interview: Zulfikar Ghose, Newsline
    Some of the very greatest – Virginia Woolf, for one – did not have the opportunity to go to college, and some who did – WH Auden, for example – came away with a third-class degree. So, the future writers of Pakistan will not be handicapped by not
  2. Simmering secrets for summer, Telegraph-Journal (registration)
    She doesn’t understand modern life, even in sleepy Great Village, and is content to stay oblivious to it all, enmeshed in the worlds of her favourite writers, William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Bishop and Virginia Woolf. The memories that keep folding over
  3. Mallick: What Atwood can teach Ford about Toronto, Toronto Star
    Dinosaurs, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and Hitler’s bombs layered London over the centuries. Toronto, the biggest city in a young country, is not quite layered enough for my taste but it will be once we let our writers at it.
  4. Mumbai’s mix-and-match approach to relationships, CNNGo.com
    Out of reach of the family that wants to get her married, the 20-something wannabe Virginia Woolf émigré from New Delhi can rent a room of her own in Bandra and live the life of Bohemian rhapsody she’s always dreamt of. The nerdy accountant from
  5. Ellen McLaughlin, Tom Nelis, Henry Stram et al. Set for Septimus and Clarissa, TheaterMania.com
    Broadway veterans Ellen McLaughlin, Tom Nelis, and Henry Stram will be featured in the world premiere of Septimus and Clarissa, adapted by McLaughlin from Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Rachel Dickstein will direct the production, presented by Ripe
  6. 7 Books That Changed The Way I See the World, Forbes (blog)
    Virginia Woolf, The Waves. This is not a book for everyone. It is demanding. I find it overpoweringly beautiful — really. I love it, but it makes my head explode to the extent that I can scarcely read it. 4. Edward Tufte, The Visual Display of
  7. Hotel to broadcast book-reading authors, Evening Standard
    Linda Plant, marketing director at Radisson Edwardian Hotels, said the literary schemes had been “incredibly well” received. She said: “Being in the heart of Bloomsbury – the stomping ground of legends such as Virginia Woolf and E M Forster – we wanted
  8. Amy Wright Speaks on Constructive Criticism, Clarksville Online
    Amy’s thoughts turned to Virginia Woolf’s essay where she quoted, “Human credulity is indeed wonderful.” In Amy’s translation, we hear, “We cannot believe what has been passed down to us.” She discussed Virginia Woolf’s criticism of Hemingway who was a
  9. Art that’s made in Scotland, Herald Scotland
    One Scottish show appearing in the Remarkable programme but not part of Made in Scotland is Orlando, the Glasgow-based Cryptic company’s sensual multimedia adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s gender-bending ode to a lover. Arguably the best thing Cryptic
  10. Gay or not, it doesn’t really matter, News-Press Now
    Many of these people who are gay or believed to be gay, like Alexander the Great, Tennessee Williams, Michelangelo, James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf and Ralph Waldo Emerson, are already in our history books for their achievements.
  11. Wolfette talks about fighting The Saturdays and being in control, Holy Moly!
    She is also related to lady-writer-and-owner-of-a-large-nose Virginia Woolf. So, naturally we decided to have a chat with her about Enya, and whether she’d punch The Saturdays. HM: Hello Wolfette! We presume that’s not the name on your bus pass.
  12. The Moulin Rouge comes to London: Toulouse-Lautrec paints Jane Avril, Huffington Post
    The Courtauld’s superb collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, originally assembled by the great critic Roger Fry (the subject of Virginia Woolf’s only biography), always makes it an excellent place to spend a few hours on a trip
  13. Great Lives for Comics, Sequential Tart News
    Without Christine, there would be no Mary Scott, Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Germaine Greer, Joanna Russ, Dale Spender or Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza. Creative team for Christine de Pisan’s graphic debut? Linda Medley.
  14. Unforgettable Characters: Doctor Marjorie Walker, 1938-2011, Huffington Post (blog)
    Those gestures were, of course, chicken feed compared to Margie’s, which included lodging at the five-story house she owned just off Fitzroy Square (Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw had lived only several doors north) and the subsequent two flats
  15. Pounded Yam and Egusi in Germany, Newswatch (subscription)
    For many of them, Nollywood restaurant is the place to realise, the true meaning of Virginia Woolf’s saying that “one cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Nollywood restaurant, to many who patronise the joint,
  16. Creativity the language of God, Herald Sun
    Writer Virginia Woolf said the whole world was a piece of art and we were all parts of that work. She also noted that religion had in the past century generally denied creativity its rightful place in the spiritual life and that art had, therefore,
  17. Linda Mussmann, Claudia Bruce, New York Times
    They soon started dating, and despite Ms. Mussmann’s initial concerns about the dangers of working with the person you are dating, she was won over by Ms. Bruce’s performance in “The Moment,” an adaption by Ms. Mussmann of an essay by Virginia Woolf.
  18. THE HARDEST TRUTH, Ottawa Citizen
    We live near the place where Virginia Woolf died. One Sunday we went for a walk along the river where she drowned; I told them her story of how she loaded her pockets with stones and waded in, because she was so unwell within her mind.
  19. Taking Fiction Out to the Ballgame, Wall Street Journal
    Lardner’s appeal extended far beyond readers of the sports pages: His fans even included Virginia Woolf, who said that Lardner “writes the best prose that has come our way, often in a language which is not English.” She was right; it is pure American.
  20. In the Details, Boston Review
    That is not the only goal for poets, nor is poetry the only art that adopts it (Virginia Woolf to the white courtesy telephone, please). But it is a goal that many poets take on, by precept or
    example, and there may be no better example right now than
  21. CIPRIAN MURESAN, New York Times
    He has placed similar drawings into novels by James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, giving modern literature a Darwinian bottom line. Modern art gets a reality check too. In a 2011 video we see robed monks in a scriptorium. They aren’t transcribing religious
  22. Emma Woolf’s Memoir An Apple A Day: A True Story of Love and Recovery From , Booktrade.info
    Emma Woolf is the great niece of Virginia Woolf. She studied at Oxford University and worked in publishing before becoming a freelance journalist and writer, contributing to The Independent, Harpers Bazaar and The Mail on Sunday. She lives in London.
  23. Authors Circle welcomes O’Nan to Courthouse, South County Independent
    I return to several books again and again – Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse,” William Maxwell’s “So Long, See You Tomorrow,” James Salter’s “Light Years” – and while I don’t think I could have written my own books without them, I don’t wish I’d
  24. Alexander Autographs, Antiques and Arts Weekly
    The sale will also feature superb autograph and manuscript offerings, including very rare letters by Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin; A fine content letter by Virginia Woolf about her first novel; John F. Kennedy signed first edition of his book Why
  25. Sharing the Harvest, Life360 Now (blog)
    When we are talking about children, Virginia is only half right. Children who do not dine well, do not live well, do not play well with others, and eventually, do not parent well. Food insecurity and malnutrition limit brain development
  26. Descartes Without Debt, The Dominion
    Over eight months, students of Halifax Humanities attended classes twice a week and read Plato, Homer, Dante, St. Augustine, Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Descartes, Kant, Nietzsche, Alice Munro, and Virginia Woolf—to name a few—in between lectures.
  27. Good story, rich characters make ‘Rules’ a fine drama of manners, Palm Beach Post
    There are art deco sculptures that become cocktail mixers, stacks of books with Virginia Woolf on top, an atmosphere of style that’s almost suffocating. I was afraid Towles was going to art direct every scene like this, and in the process kill his
  28. The one where an inspiring cookbook is found, IBNLive.com (blog)
    She has never indicated explicitly but I guess she might have read Virginia Woolf’s apocryphal story of Shakespeare’s imaginary younger sister. The one who, unlike her illustrious brother, was not sent to grammar school. The one who… …had no chance
  29. Review: Cold Drink printmaking show at Du Mois Gallery, bestofneworleans.com (blog)
    The party continues in Amanda Turpen’s Sunday Dinner (pictured below) relief print of well dressed alligators feasting on a cow carcass in a setting reminiscent of Virginia Woolf’s
    Bloomsbury group in London. And while Freret is in no danger of

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