Archive for March, 2009

woolf_and_the_cityCommon readers in New York City may be interested in joining a Virginia Woolf reading group this spring on the theme of “Woolf and the City.”

Anne Fernald will lead the group, which will meet for four Monday sessions: April 6, April 20, May 4 and May 22. Each session will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

According to Anne, the group will discuss four of Woolf’s “city novels” in preparation for the upcoming 19th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, whose theme is “Woolf and the City.”  The novels under discussion include Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, Flush and The Years.

“I’m very honored and excited to be leading this group, and I expect it will be a really fun way for New York Woolfians to talk about Woolf’s fiction with each other,” Anne wrote in an e-mail to the VW Listserv.

Meetings will be held at the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction, 17 W. 47th St., between Fifth and Madison avenues.

The cost is $65 for non-members and $50 for members. You can sign up for the group here and find out more about membership in the Mercantile Library here.

Anne Fernald is the author of Virginia Woolf: Feminism and the Reader and is an associate professor of English at Fordham University, the host for this year’s Woolf conference.

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on-movingDoes moving drive one mad?

The last time, I changed residences — 15 years ago — I felt utterly exhausted by the end of moving day, but I did not feel mad.

However, on that stifling hot and humid day in June, my two teenage sons probably thought I was. That is because I informed them that the next time I moved, it would be into a nursing home — and the two of them would have to do all of my packing and hauling themselves. 

A new book by Louise DeSalvo, On Moving: A Writer’s Meditation on New Houses, Old Haunts, and Finding Home Again explores the “troubled homemaking histories” of famous writers. It posits that for some, “moving can be paired with madness,” according to a review in the New York Times.

Check out the book and see whether you agree with DeSalvo’s theories about Woolf’s moves. You can read the first chapter here.

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danell-jones-bookLast night I spent several hours in a writing workshop. It was wonderful. How could it be anything else? The instructor was Virginia Woolf.

I found Woolf’s lessons on writing inside the covers of the charming book by Danell Jones called The Virginia Woolf Writers’ Workshop: Seven Lessons to Inspire Great Writing.

Jones combed Woolf’s diaries, letters, essays and novels to pull together the author’s best advice about writing. Woolf then delivers this advice in a setting Jones imagines — at an imaginary podium in front of a room full of eager students in a writing workshop. Actual quotes from Woolf are connected by Jones’s own words, but all stay true to what we know and love about Woolf.

This is a little gem of a book that delivers big on its promise to “inspire great writing.” It includes chapters on practicing, working, creating, walking (Yes, walking! After all this is Woolf we are talking about.), reading, publishing and doubting.

And each chapter ends with what Jones calls “Writing Sparks” to inspire hands-on practice. There are more of these at the end of the book as well.

Whether you are a writer, a reader, a teacher or just a Woolf fan, this is a sweet little book to own.

Read a more extensive review here and an excerpt here. You can also read an interview with the author.

The Fall/Winter 2008 issue of the Virginia Woolf Miscellany also has a review of the book, as does the January 2009 issue of the Virginia Woolf Bulletin.

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apHeidi Neilson is an artist whose 2004 book Atlas of Punctuation includes letterpress prints of the last punctuation marks of every sentence found in 14 famous books, including one by Virginia Woolf.

The punctuation for each book is consolidated on one page of the Atlas of Punctuation, leaving white space where the words would be.

Neilson’s book is just one in about 40 that are part of a new exhibit called “Out of the Incubator” at the Islip Art Museum. The show presents a sampling of artist’s books published during residencies at the Women’s Studio Workshop, according to the New York Times.

The Women’s Studio Workshop is a nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by four female artists in Rosendale, N.Y.

Read more about this unusual book in the New York Times and on the Women’s Studio Worshop Web site.

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hilton_hall_1Have £1.5 million? Then you may be able to purchase an authentic Bloomsbury home in the country.

Hilton Hall, home of David “Bunny” Garnett, a member of the Bloomsbury group, novelist and critic, is for sale at that price.

Virginia Woolf’s niece Angelica Bell lived at Hilton Hall after her marriage to Garnett. Angelica was 23 at the time of the wedding; Bunny was 49.

Garnett had earlier been in a relationship with Angelica’s mother and Woolf’s sister, Vanessa Bell, and artist Duncan Grant.

Another interesting tidbit that connects the village of Hilton with Woolf: From the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, Hilton lay on a cattle route between St. Ives and London. The cattle fair at St. Ives, Woolf’s summer home for the first 12 years of her life, was one of the four biggest in the country.

Located 12 miles west of Cambridge in the village of Hilton, the 17th-century Hilton Hall has six bedrooms and is filled with reminders of its Bloomsbury past, according to the Times. You can read more about it here.

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