Archive for February, 2008

Holon, IsraelOn March 12, women in Israel will embrace Virginia Woolf’s idea that they need a private space in which to flourish.

The 2008 International Women’s Festival in Holon, Israel, will feature Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own as its theme.

The festival’s theater, dance, music, art and literature offerings aren’t negative about men, says festival artistic director Rivi Feldmesser Yaron, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Instead, they “reveal the woman’s world and its inherent power,” he said. 

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Jean Guiguet textJean Guiguet is dead. But until I read about his passing on the VW Listserv,  I did not know of his connection to Woolf. Neither did I realize that he was a man.

The clues to both facts were contained within several messages to the list from Woolf scholars.

First, Stuart Clarke wrote to share the news that Guiguet died Jan. 30 at the age of 94.

Then Karen Levenback weighed in with her tribute to the French professor as one “of the earliest to recognize and honor Virginia Woolf and her achievement.”

Levenback wrote that his 1960s book, Virginia Woolf and her Works, “was one of the very few critical studies of Woolf before the publication of Quentin Bell’s biography in 1972.” 

What’s more, she wrote, it was written before Woolf’s extensive diaries and letters were available to scholars. The only such resource at the time Guiguet wrote his book was the relatively slim version of Woolf’s diaries, A Writer’s Diary, heavily edited by Leonard.

Guiguet also wrote the preface to a volume titled Contemporary Writers: Essays on Twentieth-Century Books and Authors, a collection of 40 Woolf essays on writers of her time.

In Virginia Woolf: A-Z, Mark Hussey makes numerous references to Guiguet’s Virginia Woolf and Her Works in entries covering Woolf’s fiction and non-fiction — from The Voyage Out to Three Guineas.

For a price, the Sept. 22, 1966, review of Guiguet’s book in the New York Review of Books is available online, as is Guiguet’s 1966 essay on Orlando

To read a piece of Guiguet’s work for free, download the Fall 2006 issue of the Virginia Woolf Miscellany. His “Response to Suzette Henke’s article: Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and `The Prime Minister’: Amnesias and Genealogies begins on page 42.

Another Guiguet article, “Virginia Woolf: A Multifaceted Brain, a Single Purpose,” was published in the May 2001 issue of the Virginia Woolf Bulletin.

Both Levenback and Denise Marshall spoke of Guiguet’s valuable involvement with the International Virginia Woolf Society.   Levenback remembered him as the only French member of the group when she served as secretary-treasurer in the late 1980s. Marshall recalled that when she served in that position in the early 1990’s, the group had more international members, “but none as faithful or as communicative as Jean Guiguet.”

In memoriam, Marshall wrote, “His work helped me with my dissertation and later teaching, and his is one of those volumes I always reached for as needed. I am saddened to hear of his passing.”

“I hope  that  we remember him and his important contribution with esteem,” Levenback concurred.

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Rewind to The Hours

The Hours filmWhether you consider the film version of Michael Cunningham’s The Hours a success or a failure, you may want to check out an interview with David Hare, screenwriter for the 2002 film.

He explains the miracle of making a commercial success out of the type of British film traditionally destined for art houses.

What is even more unusual, according to Hare, is that the film’s success caused Virginia Woolf’s novel, Mrs. Dalloway, on which The Hours is based, to climb to the top of the U.S. paperback chart.

“No academic, however jealous, could disdain a medium that drives the modern reader back to Virginia Woolf,” Hare says.

Funny how he sounds so disdainful of academics.

Back To the Lighthouse

A Boston Globe review of a new collection of American novelist William Maxwell’s work credits Woolf’s To the Lighthouse as the inspiration behind They Came Like Swallows, his highly autobiographical work that covers the death of his mother in the flu epidemic of 1918-19.

Writer on Woolf tells own story

Will to Create as a WomanRuth Gruber is famous for a number of things.

Her work on behalf of Jews during and after World War II is legendary.

Woolfians also admire her for her almost prescient study of Woolf written to fulfill her doctoral requirements at the University of Cologne, making her the youngest recipient of a Ph.D. in history.

WitnessHer groundbreaking work, Virginia Woolf: The Will to Create as a Woman, was first published in 1935 and reprinted with the addition of new material in 2005.

Now 95, Gruber is still writing. This time, she has published her own story, and it is aptly titled Witness: One of the Great Correspondents of the 20th Century Tells Her Story.

Listen to an interview with Gruber.

Woolf one of many

Mad, Bad and SadIn Mad, Bad and Sad: the History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present, Woolf is just one of the many women whose mental state author Lisa Appignanesi discusses.

In truth, however, Appignanesi does not think any of these women deserve the description her title seems to bestow upon them. Read about the book in The Guardian Unlimited and The Telegraph.

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Eileen AtkinsWoolf is popping up all over. On stage, that is.

“Vita and Virginia,” Eileen Atkins‘s adaptation of the letters between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West will be on stage Feb. 11 through April 28 at the Zipper Factory, a theater pub located at 336 W. 37th St. in New York.

Kathleen Chalfant and Patricia Elliott star in the production. It will be staged by the No Frills Theatre Company, dedicated to producing plays with roles for women over 40, after a two-performance run in Tucson, Arizona, last month.

Performances are Mondays at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35. For tickets or more information, call 212-352-3101.

For dinner reservations at the Zipper Factory Tavern, call 212-695-4600. The box office opens two hours prior to curtain.

Award-winning actress Atkins starred with Vanessa Redgrave in the original Off-Broadway production of “Vita & Virginia.”

Get more details about the production in Theater News, Playbill, at Broadway World or at the Zipper’s Web site. The most updated take on the production is available in a New York Times review.

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Waves program from National Theatre productionVirginia Woolf gave us the print version. The BBC gave us the audio version. Now New York’s Lincoln Center presents the multi-media version of The Waves.

The New York Times reports that Woolf’s experimental 1931 novel is the basis for one of three offbeat programs Lincoln Center will present as part of its New Visions: Literary Muse series during its 2008-2009 season.

All three will combine the spoken word, music and multimedia elements on stage.

Presented by the National Theater of Britain, “Waves” merges theatrics and technology by using four cameras and overlapping projectors to present multiple images on stage at once. The only non-live element is the recurring image of breaking waves.

It’s all part of the National Theatre’s attempt to make theatre more interesting and relevant to 21st century audiences.

The other two offerings in the Lincoln Center Literary Muse series are “Kafka Fragments” by Gyorgy Kurtag and directed by Peter Sellars and “Don Quijote de la Mancha: Romances y Músicas,” presented by Jordi Savall and the groups Hespèrion XXI and La Capella Reial de Catalunya, the Times reports.

“Waves” will premiere in the U.S. on Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. and run through Nov. 22 at the Duke on 42nd Street.

“Waves” was on stage at the National Theatre in 2006 and will reportedly return there this August. Listen to the podcast with director Katie Mitchell.

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