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Posts Tagged ‘Maggie Humm’

Virginia Woolf scholar Maggie Humm brought Woolf into the mix at the June 21 celebration of #WoolwichWomenRise!

Humm carried a placard paying homage to Kathleen Rance, Mayoress of Woolwich in 1937 ‘who would not as much as darn a sock to help a war,’ according to Woolf in Three Guineas (1938). It was the first time Woolf has been paraded through Woolwich as part of the Greenwich Festival’ Rise.

Maggie Humm (right) carrying a placard honoring Rance. It includes Woolf’s quote on the rear. With her is the current Mayor of Greenwich, which now incorporates Woolwich, holding a placard to the first woman Mayor of Woolwich (1930-1931).

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England’s Lane
Emma Woolf
Three Hares Publishing

A review by Maggie Humm

Emma Woolf’s debut novel England’s Lane is a love story with a difference. Starting with a bang – an ingenious twist of the Hollywood cliche of a half-dressed male lover exiting a torrid sex scene when his lover’s husband returns unexpectedly- here the heroine Lily is the departing lover. Immediately sympathetic as she reports to sister Cassie ‘I’m standing on the platform at Gerrard’s Cross wearing a man’s shirt tucked into skinny jeans,’ Lily’s hands closed around a packet of cigarettes in Harry’s shirt pocket. ‘Hallelujah’.

The set up will please writers and publishers. Lily, 24, works with Harry, 47, Strategic Director of Higher Education Press and ‘that first kiss was deadly serious at the Frankfurt Book Fair’. The progress of their increasingly tense love affair flows in and out of multiple perspectives: Pippa, Harry’s wife’s blog, Harry at his psychiatrist, and Lily, and constitutes the first half of the novel.

Woolf handles multiple characters with insouciance – Lily’s siblings Cassie, Olivia, James and their mother Celia, and Harry’s family.

As Harry’s guilt grows so does his drinking, jealous stalking of Lily, and eventual breakdown. To say more would give away the plot’s key moment. Woolf pulls off a writer’s toughest trick – switching mid-stream from one expected narrative – adultery- to another – Lily’s life as a single mother in England’s Lane, Belsize Park, north London. Contacting her long departed father David, Lily’s life begins afresh with his second wife’s family, particularly with Julian.

Beautifully constructed, England’s Lane rushes us through to an unexpected happy ending (for everyone except Harry).

How could we not like Lily – intelligent, thoughtful, beautifully slim, with her JBrand skinny jeans, casual cashmere sweaters and Hunter’s wellies? In my only attempt to wear JBrand jeans my knees wouldn’t bend, but fiction identifications can happen between unlikely readers and central characters. Product placements proliferate: Fortnum’s hampers, crocodile Smythson notebooks, St. Lucie’s monogrammed bath robes, but love stories need obligatory reader pleasures.

The novel is at its strongest when Lily begins to parallel Harry’s wife Pippa’s fears of being an older mother.

Emma Woolf is Leonard Woolf’s great-niece but I found traces of Virginia Woolf in Emma’s evocative scenes. Virginia Woolf is one of the twentieth century’s pre-eminent visual writers and England’s Lane carries some of Virginia’s illustrative quality. It would be an ideal Sunday evening TV serial. I simply could not put it down.

Maggie Humm is the author of Talland House and the editor of The Edinburgh Companion to Virginia Woolf and the Arts.

Emma Woolf with her father Cecil Woolf

 

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Gower Street Waterstones

About 25 Virginia Woolf fans gathered at Gower Street Waterstones this afternoon to talk about ”Woolf, Walking & Writing” in advance of the official #DallowayDay this Wednesday.

The walk

The bookstore and the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain sponsored the event, which began with an hour-long tour of Bloomsbury guided by Jean Moorcroft Wilson, author of Virginia Woolf’s London.

Jean began the walk with the suggestion that we think about it as a shopping expedition, one Woolf would have taken in her day. She then led us around the Bloomsbury squares where Woolf and other Bloomsbury Group members lived, putting each in context by adding quotes from Woolf’s diaries and references to her 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway.

The talks

Back at the shop, the event included a panel discussion about writing with two writers — Francesca Wade and Farah Ahamed. Wade is writing a book about interwar women and Mecklenburgh Square and Ahamed writes fiction and essays.

The event concluded with wine and a presentation about Woolf’s photographs by Maggie Humm, author of Snapshots of Bloomsbury.

Here are some photos from the day.

The Woolf crowd gathers at Waterstones for the tour led by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.

Jean Moorcroft Wilson on the doorstep of 46 Gordon Square, Woolf’s first Bloomsbury home.

Our next stop was the Tavistock Hotel, where this blue plaque honoring Virginia and Leonard Woolf was installed this spring. The hotel is located on the site of their former home at 52 Tavistock Square, which was destroyed in World War II.

At Waterstones, ready for the #DallowayDay talks

A display of books by and about Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group available at the shop.

Panel discussion on Woolf and writing with M.L. Banting, Farah Ahamed and Francesca Wade.

Maggie Humm talks about Woolf’s photography and how it relates to her writing.

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Wednesday 9 January [1924]

At this very moment, or fifteen minutes ago to be precise, I bought the ten years lease of 52 Tavistock Sqre London W.C. 1—I like writing Tavistock. Subject of course to the lease, & to Providence, & to the unforeseen vagaries on the part of old Mrs Simons, the house is ours: & the basement, & the billard room, with the rock garden on top, & the view of the square in front & the desolated buildings behind, & Southampton Row, & the whole of London – London thou art a jewel of jewels, & jasper of jocunditie – music, talk, friendship, city views, books, publishing, something central & inexplicable, all this is now within my reach. – Virginia Woolf, Diary 2, 282-3.

The Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain held a one-day conference in London last Saturday that doubled as a general meeting for the organization, as well as a celebration of its 20th anniversary. It was coupled with the unveiling of a blue plaque in honor of Virginia and Leonard Woolf.

“Virginia Woolf and her Relatives” was the theme of the conference, and Marion Dell, Philip Carter and Maggie Humm presented papers.

After the conference, the group walked to Tavistock Square for the unveiling of a blue plaque on the exterior wall of the Tavistock Hotel to mark number 52, where Virginia and Leonard Woolf lived from 1924 to 1939. The house was destroyed in World War Two and later replaced with the hotel.

It was at 52 Tavistock Square that Woolf wrote many of her books, including Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, A Room of One’s Own, Orlando, The Waves, The Years, and Three Guineas. Her diary entries talk about her walks around the square as she thought about the novel she was working on. And her nephew, Cecil Woolf, recalls Leonard and Virginia sitting at a table in the garden and sharing a bottle of wine.

Dame Eileen Atkins, honorary president of the VWSGB, unveiled the plaque, which was funded by the society and the Tavistock Hotel. Afterwards, society members attended a reception at which Atkins read extracts from Woolf’s diaries and letters that reflected upon her life in Tavistock Square and her love of London.

Cecil sent Blogging Woolf these photos that commemorate the day.

Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson at the plaque unveiling.

Dame Eileen Atkins and Maggie Humm outside the Tavistock Hotel at the plaque unveiling.

The blue plaque on the side of the Tavistock Hotel commemorating Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s tenure at 52 Tavistock Square.

 

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The details are in for DallowayDay 2018: Woolf, Walking & Writing on Saturday 16 June at the Gower Street Waterstones, four days earlier than the official #DallowayDay of June 20.

Jean Moorcroft Wilson

‘I love walking in London,’ said Mrs. Dalloway. ‘Really it’s better than walking in the country.’

From the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain comes this news:

In one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway, set in June 1923, Clarissa Dalloway loves walking as much as did her creator. So this year’s #DallowayDay takes as its theme ‘Woolf, Walking & Writing’.

Gower Street Waterstones and the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain invite you to celebrate #DallowayDay with us in London’s Bloomsbury on Saturday 16 June.We start with an hour’s walk (2–3 p.m.) around Bloomsbury guided by Jean Moorcroft Wilson, author of Virginia Woolf’s London, to places familiar to Virginia Woolf and her friends (please note numbers for the walk are restricted to 25).

The walk ends at Waterstones Gower Street, where we’ll have a panel discussion (3.30–4.30 p.m.) on Woolf, Walking & Writing with authors and special guests.

At 5.30 p.m. we’ll have time for a celebratory glass of wine, then at 6 p.m. Maggie Humm, author of Snapshots of Bloomsbury, will talk about Woolf and photography, illustrated with photographs taken by Woolf and her Bloomsbury friends, starting with images matching up with key moments in Mrs Dalloway.

  • All-event tickets (walk, panel and talk), £24; VWSGB members & students, £18
  • Woolf, Walking & Writing panel, 3.30–4.30 p.m., £8; VWSGB & students, £6
  • Woolf & Photography, by Maggie Humm, 5.30–7.30 p.m. includes glass of wine, £8. VWSGB & students, £6

Bookings are available online http://bit.ly/2FVk5V8 or by phone 020 7636 1577. Please note that online bookings incur an additional fee.

Please note that Wednesday, June 20, has been designated the official #DallowayDay on both sides of the pond this year. Get more details on other #DallowayDay events on the Events page.

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Back in January, in response to Blogging Woolf’s tweet about a Virginia Woolf punch, Maggie Humm tweeted about Virginia Woolf and wine, saying she had a list of Woolf quotes referencing the fermented beverage.

The emeritus professor at the University of East London provided them at our request, apologizing for the lack of complete citations. Grateful for her contribution, we gladly forgive her.

The quotes, said Maggie, a Woolf scholar and author, were on a brief list she sent to the Tate for the launch of her 2006 book Snapshots of Bloomsbury, at the London Review of Books.

We share them with you here — and raise a glass to Virginia Woolf, with love on Valentine’s Day 2018.

Woolf quotes on wine

  • 1936 to Ethel Smyth the feminist composer: ‘Oh and the champagne! How I like it.
  • 1937 to Vita Sackville-West: ‘shant I be thankful to be in a courtyard in France, listening to a nightingale, drinking red wine, while you are curtseying & singing God Save the King’.
  • 1938 to Quentin Bell: ‘Wine would be a passport to my heart, its true’.
  • 1939 to Ethel Smyth: ‘How it liberates the soul to drink a bottle of good wine daily & sit in the sun’.
  • 1929 Cassis: ‘Nessa’s villa…a delicious life, with a great deal of wine, cheap cigars, conversation’.
  • 1931 to Ethel Smyth from Bergerac (Woolf likes Bergerac wine): `Just dined off eels, artichokes and wine – slightly tipsy’.
  • 1940 Diary: ‘All the young English drink spirits. I like wine. Air raids much less’.
  • 1931 Diary: ‘Wine at lunch flushes me & floats me’.
  • Room of One’s Own: ‘I blandly told them to drink wine and have a room of their own’.

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As we reported back in 2011, Virginia Woolf’s Monk’s House photos are now online, thanks to Harvard University. You can view the entire 182 pages of the photo albums, page by page.

The digitized material now available online includes all the images in Virginia Woolf’s photo albums, numbered one through six, that Frederick R. Koch gave to Harvard’s Houghton Library in 1983. They include the 1,000 photos in Maggie Humm’s 2006 book Snapshots of Bloomsbury: the Private Lives of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell.

Snapshots of Bloomsbury

In the albums are snapshots taken by Woolf and her friends and family, including portraits and scenic landscapes of their homes and travels. Virginia and Vanessa were avid photographers, using a portable Kodak to shoot their pictures. They also developed their photos, printed them and mounted them in albums.

Details from the catalog item description

The majority of the photographs in the album are snapshots possibly taken by Virginia Woolf or by her friends and family. The rest of the photographs include portraits or scenic landscapes of their homes or from their travels. Subjects include Virginia Woolf, Leonard Woolf, Julian Bell, Quentin Bell, Vanessa Bell, George Duckworth, Stella Duckworth, T. S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot, Angelica Garnett, Duncan Grant, John Lehmann, Noel Olivier, William Plomer, V. (Victoria) Sackville-West, Adrian Stephen, Julia Duckworth Stephen and Sir Leslie Stephen. Some locations of the photographs were identified.

Some were taken at the home of Leonard and Virginia Woolf, Monk’s House (Rodmell, England) and at their publishing business, Hogarth Press. Other family homes included is the childhood home of Virginia Woolf, Talland House in St. Ives (Cornwall, England) as well as the home of her sister, Vanessa Bell, Charleston Farmhouse (West Firle, England). Other locations included Sissinghurst Garden (England) as well as other locations. Virginia and Leonard Woolf also took photographs during their vacation in England, France and Germany. Most of these images are of landscapes or buildings.

More on the albums

Read more about the albums on Open Culture and on the My Modern Met website.

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