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It’s nearly time for Woolf Salon No. 15: “Time Passes” (A Reading). This time, Salon Conspirators have planned a full read-through of the hauntingly poetic middle section of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927), followed by an open discussion.

Details

Hosts: Salon Conspirators
Day: Friday, Dec. 10
Time: 3 p.m.–5 p.m. ET / Noon –2 p.m  PT / 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Brasilia / 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. BST / 9 p.m. – 11 p.m. CEST
How to join: Anyone can join the group, which meets on one Friday of each month via Zoom and focuses on a single topic or text. Just contact woolfsalonproject@gmail.com to sign up for the email list and receive the Zoom link.

Background on the Salon

The Salon Conspirators — Hagen, Shilo McGiff, Amy Smith, and Drew Shannon — began the Woolf Salon Project in July 2020 to provide opportunities for conversation and conviviality among Woolf-interested scholars, students, and common readers during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now is the time to submit panel proposals on Virginia Woolf for the Modern Language Association Convention, scheduled for Jan. 5-8, 2023, in San Francisco. Submissions are due Dec. 17.

The International Virginia Woolf Society will have one guaranteed panel on Woolf at the 2023 Convention. The group can also submit one additional panel proposal (which is often accepted but not guaranteed). And it can also collaborate with another allied organization and submit a third panel proposal. These joint panels elicit especially lively, productive exchanges.

Guidelines for submissions

  • Note that this is a call for panel proposals, not individual paper proposals.
  • Please submit one topic only. The submission should include the following:
    • a maximum 35-word description (word count includes title)
    • the name(s) and contact information of the proposed organizer(s)

How to submit

Please submit your proposal to Benjamin Hagen, president of the IVWS, via email to Benjamin.Hagen@usd.edu with the subject line Woolf MLA 2023. The submission deadline is Dec. 17, 2021.

Once proposals are in, Hagen will send them out to IVWS members for a vote. Anyone who wishes to propose a session of their own outside of the IVWS process can visit the MLA website.

Editor’s Note: Emma Morris, the author of this post, is a digital copywriter from Johannesburg, South Africa. She is also a self-proclaimed logophile and loves Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group. Emma spends her days writing engaging marketing copy for brands and her evenings immersed in literature and literature blogs. 

On Nov. 5, cultures and creators came together in Amsterdam and online to celebrate the publication of an anthology of essays, letters and poems which resonate with Virginia Woolf’s essay On Being Ill.

There was a diverse range of speakers at the hybrid event organized by the Perdu Literary Foundation. Both in-person and on Zoom, they spoke to the complexity of the theme. Speakers included Elte Rauch, Marielle O’Neill, Nadia de Vries, Lucia Osborne-Crowley, Deryn Rees-Jones, Sophie Collins and Mieke van Zonneveld, as well as superb live music from Ekster.

Pandemic allows identification

The timing of the publication date could not be more perfect. As the world limps out of isolation, we can most certainly identify with Woolf’s essay on illness itself and the resulting isolation, loneliness and vulnerability that comes with it.

The anthology examines the way illness and literature are dialectically connected to each other, and how the process from conceptualization to the publication of the anthology mirrors the stages of illness.

Connecting as writers

Elte Rauch from HetMoet

As Elte stated in her opening address at the launch, the people involved in this anthology didn’t know each other, but each of them was able to connect at varying points in the process.

This idea that connection can never be lost is pivotal, she said, explaining that while writing is a solitary action, publishing is done together. It is the time when writers, illustrators and musicians all come together.

In an evening that celebrates the relevancy of Virginia Woolf, and especially her “revolutionary act of empowerment,” as Marielle O’Neill stated in her essay, that by openly embracing such a taboo subject as mental health – especially at a time in our history when illness itself is a taboo subject, the anthology as well as the original essay by Woolf will resonate with post-lockdown readers.

When everyday moments become special

As Marielle stated in her essay, small everyday moments, like Mrs. Dalloway buying flowers, become special moments. For example, coffee with a friend becomes a special occasion.

Writer Nadia de Vries with Marielle O’Neill from the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain

This anthology shows us, as readers, how beautiful it can be to write about a subject that is, in all honesty, not beautiful.

As Woolf so describes in her essay, when adults are ill, it inevitably makes us feel like children again. Illness is not beautiful. It’s messy, it’s raw and it leaves us vulnerable. In some ways, being ill mirrors the act of writing and creating itself.

How often do we as artists, writers and musicians share some of the most secret parts of our souls when we put pen to paper or paint to canvas?

Literature and anthologies bring us together

As I close this blog piece, I will leave you with something that was repeated during the evening, and certainly echoes in the anthology itself. Just as literature succeeds in bringing people together, this anthology brought writers, creators, scholars, and musicians together for an evening. It even brought you and I together for an evening.

It helped us put aside the loneliness of lockdown, illness and a global pandemic and allowed us to just enjoy each other’s company and inner most thoughts and feelings.

When we talk about illness, we lay bare how naturally afraid of illness and the finality of death we are – almost on a primitive level. But one thing is certain, when we do discuss our vulnerabilities and share our fears, magic is created.

How to get it

The anthology is available now in Holland in English and Dutch editions, with a UK book launch planned for January 2022. For more information contact Elte Rauch at info@uitgeverijhetmoet.nl.

So many wonderful events, performances, and exhibits related to the Bloomsbury Group take place in England. Here is another I wish I could view — and it’s free. “Beyond Bloomsbury: Life, Love and Legacy,” an exhibit that chronicles the “lives, loves and work” of the group opens at the Millennium Gallery of the Sheffield Museums Nov. 25 and runs until Feb. 13, 2022.

The Vanessa Bell portrait of Leonard Woolf that graces the cover of his biography by Victoria Glendinning is just one of the Bloomsbury Group portraits included in the exhibit.

Curated through a partnership between Sheffield Museums, York Museums Trust and the National Portrait Gallery, the exhibition includes portraits of those who were intimately associated with the Bloomsbury Group, along with their peripheral friends and colleagues.

More than 140 works

Beyond Bloomsbury brings together more than 140 paintings, sculpture, works on paper and supporting material to celebrate key figures, including Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. Most of the portraits included in the exhibit are informal and intimate.

It include paintings by Bell, Dora Carrington, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant, sculpture by Marcel Gimmond and Stephen Tomlin, and drawings and photographs by Cecil Beaton, George Charles Beresford, Lady Ottoline Morrell and John Nash.

Get introduced at a tour

The gallery is offering two free lunchtime tours to introduce viewers to the exhibit. Titled “Beyond Bloomsbury,” they will be held from 1-1:45 p.m. on Dec. 7 and Dec. 14.

Sheffield Museums are located at Arundel Gate, Sheffield S1 2PP.

Imagine my double-take when, scrolling through the LitHub Daily recently, I came across an ad for a new book, Insignificance by James Clammer.

The caption read “A plumber’s Mrs. Dalloway.”

The book is described as an interior-monologue lyric novel, a single day in the life of Joe Forbes, reluctant plumber and anguished father. The TLS calls it “A descent into the suburban uncanny and the English soul.” The Spectator links it to Woolf: “Like Mrs. Dalloway, it immerses us in the rush of a different life, the strangeness of another body.”

I may not read it, but the reviewers are taking it seriously, and it sounds compelling. Who am I to snicker?

Palace of the Drowned

A New York Times review drew me to Christine Mangan’s Palace of the Drowned, which “heaves with allusions to other books and other authors — a little Patricia Highsmith here, a little Virginia Woolf there, glimpses of Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House” someplace else.”

A novel about a novelist, when Frankie’s latest work is panned and she causes a scene, she goes to Italy, where she’s stalked by an admirer:

“You’re not the first author to receive a bad review,” Gilly tells her. “Dostoyevsky. Hemingway. Did you know Virginia Woolf was terribly affected by criticism? She didn’t even like to read what others wrote about her fellow authors. She said that no creative writer can swallow another contemporary.”

As the Highsmith and Jackson references imply, there’s suspense and intrigue here too, and Venice—all that’s missing are the Bellinis (the drink, not the painter or the composer).

The Plot

 I can’t resist novels about writers writing; Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot is another. A twisted tale of plagiarism and intrigue, the protagonist justifies his actions: “He would hardly be the first to take some tale from a play or a book—in this case, a book that had never been written!—and create something entirely new from it. Miss Saigon from Madam Butterfly. The Hours from Mrs. Dalloway. The Lion King from Hamlet, for goodness’ sake!”

 

 

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