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Archive for February 15th, 2008

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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