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Posts Tagged ‘Virginia Woolf’s death’

How should we remember Virginia Woolf on the 76th anniversary of her death?

Last year, I published a post that collected pertinent comments and social media posts. This year, I am marking it by advocating for better stories for girls, particularly those about Rebel Girls.

After all, the author of A Room of One’s Own (1929) and Three Guineas (1938) is an icon for Rebel Girls everywhere.

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Kristin Czarnecki, president of the International Virginia Woolf Society, posted the noteV Woolf bust Monk's House below on Facebook today to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s death.

To read more about her last note, as well as its social, literary, cultural and scientific contexts, visit this page on the Smith College website.

“On the 75th anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s death, one of my favorite passages from Mrs. Dalloway from one of the most remarkable characters ever created:

Why then rage and prophesy? Why fly scourged and outcast? Why be made to tremble and sob by the clouds? Why seek truths and deliver messages when Rezia sat sticking pins into the front of her dress, and Mrs. Peters was in Hull? Miracles, revelations, agonies, loneliness, falling through the sea, down, down into the flames, all were burnt out, for he had a sense, as he watched Rezia trimming the straw hat for Mrs. Peters, of a coverlet of flowers.

R.I.P. Virginia–and Septimus.

And on Twitter:

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It was 74 years ago today, on March 28, 1941, that Virginia Woolf left two suicide notesAfterwords behind, walked out of Monk’s House and across the Sussex Downs and headed for the River Ouse. With a stone in her coat pocket, she waded into the river and drowned. She is still missed today.

Past tributes

Many tributes have been made to her on the anniversary of her death. Eight years ago, a video, The Adventures of Virginia Woolf, was posted on YouTube that speculates on what Woolf would have accomplished if she had chosen to live on that fateful date in March of 1941.

Four years ago, the Elite Theatre Company presented the world premiere of Arthur Kraft’s  drama “Goat,” about what might have happened if a psychologist had prevented Woolf’s suicide.

That same year, her great niece, Emma Woolf, wrote an article for The Independent, “Literary haunts: Virginia’s London walks,” that speculated about what Virginia Woolf would have thought of today’s London.

“The Writer’s Almanac” has payed tribute to her.

Tributes this year

And each year on this day, social media lights up with posts that commemorate her life, her work and her death, making Woolf a trending topic. One example is @HistoryTime_’s Twitter post below that features a photograph of The New York Times coverage of her death.

History Time tweet

The most notable piece so far this year is Maria Popova’s critique of the media treatment of Woolf’s death 75 years ago in her post on Brain Pickings: “March 28, 1941: Virginia Woolf’s Suicide Letter and Its Cruel Misinterpretation in the Media.”

The perfect accompaniment to that is the video of actress Louise Brealey’s poignant reading of Woolf’s last letter to Leonard, which is posted on The Telegraph website. A video of Brealey reading the letter at the Hay Festival is also available on YouTube, but the audio is not as pristine.

Screenshot of Louise Brealey reading Woolf's last letter on The Telegraph website.

Screenshot of Louise Brealey reading Woolf’s last letter on The Telegraph website.

virginia_suicide_letter

 

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On this, the 62nd anniversary of her death, common readers and writers around the globe remember Virginia Woolf, in words as well as music:

I am remembering Virginia Woolf today, as are many. She died too soon, but by her own choice. What great works she may have written, we will never know. But her influence will be felt for centuries. I know that reading her novels, diaries, letters, and works written about her, by those who knew her, influenced my life in numerous ways. I became a college English instructor, and have also written an op-ed column, and freelance articles, and always in the back of my mind, I thought of Virginia and her struggles and triumphs, in a time when women were supposed to get married and be quiet. RIP dear friend.  – Carol Butler Jensen on the Virginia Woolf Facebook Page
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A Room of Her Own’s 6th Gift of Freedom winner and finalists reflect on the anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s death, a day on which we celebrate the meaning of her life and her work.

Gift of Freedom Winner Diane Gilliam, Poetry

“It’s not a simple thing to be on the side of life.  There’s no naivete to it, it’s not a wish to return to the simplicity, the unambiguous peace of the Garden.   “[T]he beauty of the world which is so soon to perish, has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder,” Woolf says near the beginning of A Room of One’s Own, locating the beauty of the world right on the fine line between love and grief.  To hold the balance of those two opposites, this is my version of being on the side of life, to know that both things are always true even though on any given day one or the other may be out of sight.  For me, that’s wholeness, presence, sanity.” Read More of Diane’s Essay “Two Edges”

Genre Finalist Florencia Ramirez, Creative Nonfiction

“I am grateful to Virginia Woolf’s legacy that spills beyond the constraints of her years lived. The long string of words, sentences, stories and books she wrote in her lifetime continue to breathe with new vitality.  They spread and take new forms; like a writer’s retreat in Ghost Ranch or a woman inspired to write her own stories in a room of her own. Each act reminds us that Virginia Woolf hasn’t died; she became a river.”  Read More of Florencia’s Essay“Virginia Woolf and a River”

Genre Finalist Ire’ne Lara Silva, Fiction

“How do we define ‘tragedy’? How do we define ‘victory’? Virginia Woolf was 59 years old when she took her own life. She chose the time and manner of her passing. For how many years—how many decades—was she able to keep the demons at bay with her creative work?”Can we ask for more than that? To outrun the darkness and wrestle the monsters with all our might long enough to say what we most needed to say the way we needed to say it? To leave a legacy of work and thought and aesthetics that has influenced and will influence so many writers, so many women?”  Read More of Ire’ne’s Essay “The Dream:  Reflections on the Anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s Suicide”

Today’s responses from readers of Woolf

Archival materials

Social media responses

Below is a March 28, 2013, post on the Virginia Woolf Author Facebook page, along with comments added in response. Following the Facebook offerings is a selection of the numerous tweets in several languages resulting from a “Virginia Woolf” search on Twitter on March 28, 2013:

Virginia Woolf Author Facebook post

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In memory of Virginia Woolf

The Writer’s Almanac posted the following tribute to Virginia Woolf, who died on this day in 1941, 71 years ago. All of the adjectives are true.

Virginia Woolf committed suicide on this day in 1941. A lively, witty, productive, creative person, whose life was overshadowed by her death. She wrote three of her best books in the space of just a few years in the 1920’s: Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928).

Posts from the past on the topic of Woolf’s untimely passing:

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An archive of Bloomsbury group letters from two collections is being opened to public viewing at Cambridge University for the first time, according to a Guardian report.

Both collections belonged to the novelist Rosamond Lehmann and the diarist and writer Frances Partridge, who became friends at Cambridge. The archive, acquired by King’s College, Cambridge, includes more than 1,000 pages of letters and 30 photo albums.

Of particular note are those letters by and pertaining to Virginia Woolf and her death. Included among them is an April 3, 1941, letter from Clive Bell to Partridge, written while Woolf was missing yet had not been declared dead.

See photographs from Partridge’s Bloomsbury collection. Read more in the Daily Mail and the New Zealand Herald.

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