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Summer courses in Cambridge 2018

Virginia Woolf and Politics
1-6 July 2018, Wolfson College, Cambridge

Immerse yourself for a week in the books and ideas of Virginia Woolf. In 2018, we will learn more about Woolf’s interest in the politics of her time: the First World War, the education of women, the rise of the Labour Party. We will also explore her interest in pacifism and human rights, and her thoughts on gender and on families.

To be studied: A Room of One’s Own, Three Guineas, Orlando, The Years and selected essays.

No prior knowledge is assumed; just an interest in Woolf and a love of reading. Whether you know the politics of Woolf’s period well, or are coming to it for the first time, this course will deepen your understanding of Woolf’s wonderful writing.

Women Writers: Emily Bronte to Elizabeth Bowen
8-13 July 2018, Homerton College, Cambridge

This is a rare opportunity to study five great women who were writing in Britain in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries:

  • Bronte, Wuthering Heights
  • George Eliot, Mill on the Floss
  • Woolf, To the Lighthouse
  • Katherine Mansfield, “The Garden Party” and other stories
  • Elizabeth Bowen, To the North

Both courses are taught by leading scholars, with lectures, seminars, supervisions, readings, walks and the chance to go punting. Live like a Cambridge student for a week of intensive, exciting study.

Teachers include: Gillian Beer, Clare Walker Gore, Trudi Tate, Claire Nicholson, Claire Davison, Frances Spalding, Peter Jones, Aiofe Byrne, Nadine Tschacksch, Jeremy Thurlow, and others.

Discount for early bookings by 22 December 2017.

After 22 December, a discount for students and members of recognized Woolf societies (and other relevant societies such as the George Eliot Fellowship and the Katherine Mansfield Society), are available, subject to enrollment.

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Bookings are now open for Literature Cambridge summer courses in Cambridge during July 2018 — and both include Virginia Woolf.

Virginia Woolf and Politics

Dates: July 1-6, 2018
A week’s immersion in Woolf’s political concerns, focusing on the 1920s and 1930s. A Room of One’s Own, Orlando, Three Guineas and The Years, plus some essays.

Women Writers Emily Bronte to Elizabeth Bowen

Dates: July 8-13, 2018
A week’s intensive study of five women writers, including George Eliot, Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf.

Discount for early bird bookings made before Dec. 22, and for members of recognized Virginia Woolf Societies.

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women writers at workI love to read writers talking about their lives, their work, their influences.

A 1989 Paris Review collection, Women Writers at Work, includes interviews from the 1960s to the mid-1980s with Isak Dineson, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker, Nadine Gordimer, Joan Didion, and others. Not surprisingly, Virginia Woolf pops up a few times.

Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980) cites three “almost perfect novels:” A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes, A Passage to India by E.M. Forster and To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. “Every one of them begins with an apparently insoluble problem, and every one of them works out of confusion into order. The material is all used so that you are going toward a goal. And that goal is the clearing up of disorder and confusion and wrong, to a logical and human end.”

Eudora Welty (1909-2001) says of Woolf: “She was the one who opened the door. When I read To the Lighthouse, I felt, Heavens, what is this? I was so excited by the experience I couldn’t sleep or eat. I’ve read it many times since, though more often these days I go back to her diary. Any day you open it to will be tragic, and yet all the marvelous things she says about her work, about working, leave you filled with joy that’s stronger than your misery for her.”

Several interviews discuss the troublesome label of “woman writer.” The always acerbic Mary McCarthy (1912-1989) names Woolf, Katherine Mansfield and Elizabeth Bowen as what she calls “a certain kind of woman writer who’s a capital W, capital W.” These signify “sensibility,” whereas she advocates for “sense,” represented by Katherine Anne Porter, George Eliot and possibly Eudora Welty.

Katherine Anne Porter, by the way, calls McCarthy “one of the wittiest and most acute and in some ways the worst-tempered woman in American letters.”

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