Archive for December 14th, 2010

Editor’s Note: Susan Dick died on the evening of Dec. 10. She was professor emerita at Queen’s University, where she was also instrumental in bringing a Special Field Concentration in Women’s Studies to the university. Flags were lowered today in her memory. A memorial service is being planned for a later date. Pat Rosenbaum prepared the obituary below for the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain. It was also distributed to the VWoolf Listserv.

Susan Dick has died at the age of 70 in Kingston, Ontario, where she taught for many years at Queen’s University.

One of the most distinguished Virginia Woolf scholars of the twentieth-century, Susan studied with Richard Ellmann at Northwestern University, where with his encouragement she edited an annotated, critical, variorum edition of George Moore’s autobiographical novel Confessions of a Young Man (1972) before directing her considerable editorial abilities to Virginia Woolf. Her edited transcription of the holograph of To the Lighthouse (University of Toronto Press, 1982) set a high scholarly standard for editions of Woolf manuscripts.

She then turned her abilities to the editing of Woolf’s short stories. The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf was published by the Hogarth Press in 1985 and four years later in an expanded and revised edition. Its introduction, notes, and appendices have made it the standard text for Woolf’s short fiction. Susan then wrote for the Modern Fiction series published by Edward Arnold (1989) a short account of Virginia Woolf that is still the best introduction to her work.

In 1988 Susan fell and was hospitalized for nearly a year with Guillain-Barré syndrome, which was complicated by the birth defect of a deformed spine. She wrote a memorable account, with allusions to Virginia Woolf, of her ordeal in “Being Ill/Being Well: Reflections on an Illness” for the Queen’s Quarterly in 1992. Susan never completely recovered from her illness, but she was able nevertheless to edit an invaluable scholarly edition of To the Lighthouse (1992) for Blackwell’s Shakespeare Head Press Edition of Virginia Woolf, on the editorial committee of which she also served. Later with Mary S. Millar she edited Between the Acts (2002) with the same care and rigour.

Meeting with this small, quiet, unassuming woman, one was unprepared for a tough-mindedness that never lost its sense of humour. She will be much missed.

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