Archive for January, 2011

Vanessa and Virginia, a new play about Virginia Woolf based on the eponymous novel by Susan Sellers, will be on stage at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 and 12 at the Byre Theatre at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Written by Elizabeth Wright, the play includes original music and is peformed before a backdrop of projected images inspired by Vanessa Bell’s paintings.

It has been invited to Poland, Germany, Greece and across the UK for performances in theatre spaces, at literary conferences and at site-specific locations. It began touring in France last September and will be on the road until September of this year.

Sellers‘ novel provides a fictional account of the sibling rivalry between Virginia Woolf and the painter Vanessa Bell. She is a member of the at St. Andrews’ School of English.

Susan Sellers

A book signing at 6:45 p.m. in the foyer of the theater will preceed the play. A question and answer session with director Emma Gersch, the playwright and the cast will follow it.

The next day, a Virginia Woolf symposium will be held to mark the publication of a new edition of Virginia Woolf’s writing by Cambridge University Press, according to Blogging Woolf reader Kathleen Dixon Donnelly.

The symposium will be held in the School of English, Lawson Lecture Room, Kennedy Hall, The Scores, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It will include talks on:

  • the relevance of Virginia Woolf for the 21st century
  • Nicole Kidman in The Hours and
  • creating the stage play Vanessa and Virginia.

Members of the school’s Literary Society and Feminist Society can obtain discounted tickets. Visit the Byre Theatre website for more details on performances and tickets.

Watch a preview of the play and an interview with the director. Read more about the novel, including a review by Alice Lowe, a frequent contributor to Blogging Woolf.

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The International Virginia Woolf Society has issued two calls for papers to be delivered at the 2012 Modern Language Association Convention in Seattle, Wash.

  • “Institutional Woolf” will address Virginia Woolf’s paradoxical relationship to academic institutions in her fiction, prose and posthumous status in the canon. Please send 250 word abstracts by March 1 to Amanda.golden@emory.edu. This International Virginia Woolf Society panel will appear in the MLA program.
  • “Women of the Woolf: Influence, Affinity, Obscurity” will explore Virginia Woolf’s literary, aesthetic or epistemological influence on early-twentieth-century women writers and artists (defined broadly) now far less known than she. Interdisciplinary and transatlantic/transnational engagements are encouraged. Please note that this panel is sponsored by the IVWS but will need to go through MLA program review to be accepted. Please send 500-word abstracts to Brenda Helt at helt0010@umn.edu by March 15.

In other news, the deadline for the Call for Papers for the 21st Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf is Feb. 1. The conference theme is “Contradictory Woolf.” The conference will be held June 9-12, 2011. Twitter hashtag for conference: #woolf21

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Virginia Woolf was born 129 years ago today, so I decided to search through a volume or two of her diaries to see whether she made an effort to document the doings of the day.

I started with her last, Vol. V, the diaries that cover the last years of her life, 1936 to 1941. There were entries before and after Jan. 25, but none that mentioned her birthday itself. Instead, her entry for the day following her birthday in 1940 speaks of “moments of despair” (260), and her 1941 entry of depression and rejection (354).

In both cases, though, Woolf shakes off the gloom. In 1940, she writes that her despair is really “glacial suspense” that has “given way . . . to ecstasy” (260). In 1941, she bravely says “[t]his trough of despair shall not, I swear, engulf me” (354).

In Volume III, which includes entries from 1925 to 1930, I found one entry that mentions her birthday and notes an unusual occurence in the natural world. On Jan. 26, 1930, Woolf wrote:

I am 48: we have been at Rodmell–a wet, windy day again; but on my birthday we walked among the downs, like the folded wings of grey birds; & saw first one fox, very long with his brush stretched; then a second, which had been barking, for the sun was hot over us; it leapt lightly over a fence & entered the furze — a very rare sight (285).

Sighting two foxes and feeling the heat of the sun. Not bad for a 48th birthday in England in January.

Past posts about Woolf’s birthday include:

You can also go here for past birthday remiscences of Woolf from Nonsuch Blog readers. And read more about the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain’s Twelfth Annual Birthday Lecture on Woolf, Eliot and Mansfield. It was held Jan. 22.

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An informal celebration of the life of Virginia Woolf scholar Susan Dick, who died Dec. 2010, will be held Feb. 3 at the Queen’s University Club, 168 Stuart Street, Kingston, Ontario, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Friends, colleagues and fellow-Woolfians are cordially invited to attend. Those unable to attend are welcome to send brief written tributes to be read.

Mary S. Millar sent this notice to the VWoolf Listserv.

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Yesterday was the day in 1926 that Vita Sackville-West wrote a love letter to Virginia Woolf.

You can listen to the lovely podcast of Garrison Keillor reading the letter onPBS’ The Writer’s Almanac website here or read the transcript here.

Thanks to Karen Levenback who sent the VW Listserv the link.

More on Woolf podcasts and broadcast media sightings

  • Three podcasts of Woolf lectures are now available on the New York Public Library website. Get details here.
  • Listen to a variety of earlier podcasts about Woolf and her circle. Find out more here.
  • For more links to broadcast media coverage of Woolf, visit the Woolf Sightings page.

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