Archive for August, 2012

Virginia Woolf is a regular topic among bloggers. Here is a list of blog posts we sighted that were published online during the month of August. Not counting yours truly, of course.

  1. Rambling about Inspiration on Vega’s Voice
  2. On Virginia … on To a Dusty Shelf We Aspire, where the author has six Woolf posts, each a chosen quote from a Woolf novel. You can find links to all six here.
  3. Virginia Woolf
  4.  in Richmond and Bloomsbury: London  on Dr. Tony Shaw’s blog
  5. Good Reads: My Week with Virginia Woolf « as i see it on the Perpetual Flaneur
  6. Virginia Woolf’s First Car on the Virginia Woolf Blog
  7. Vita Sackville-West’s Love Letter to Virginia Woolf on Brain Pickings
  8. Night and Day by Virginia Woolf on Book Snob
  9. What Virginia Woolf Taught Me About Mindfulness on Remade by Hand
  10. Virginia Wolf, a picture book on Just Another Step to Take
  11. Virginia Woolf & Julia Child on The Daily Glean
  12. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf on From Kafka to Kindergarten
  13. How True Virginia Woolf on Polly: Writings and Witterings
  14. Virginia Woolf’s Writer’s Diary on Kitchen Table Writers
  15. Butter Sculptures, Virginia Woolf, and Runaway Calfs! on Historypin
  16. Kate O’Rourke, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett: Wait & Party — Nonfiction by Michael Bryson on Numéro Cinq

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School is in, and summer is on the wane. But this week’s Woolf sightings include numerous references to books that are either reminiscent of Virginia Woolf or connected to her in some way. I plan to add a few to my fall reading list, since I am already way behind on my list of summer picks. Perhaps I should call them wish lists instead.
  1. Wives and Stunners: The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Muses, By Henrietta GarnettThe Independent
    Perhaps only the Bloomsbury group can rival them for incestuous pairings, which is why Henrietta Garnett, the daughter of David Garnett and Angelica Bell (herself the daughter of Garnett’s lover Duncan Grant and Virginia Woolf’s sister, Vanessa Bell 
  2. Nilanjana S Roy The writing circusBusiness Standard
    In an essay on Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf reflected how close the other author had come to losing her obscurity — Austen was so close to becoming famous, at the time of her death. “She would have stayed in London, dined out, lunched out, met famous 
  3. Night LifeNew Yorker
    Holter painstakingly crafted the album in the course of nearly three years, and her quasi-liturgical pop ballads are strikingly advanced. The music evokes Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson, while the clever lyrics cite Anne Carson, Virginia Woolf, Frank O 
  4. Her Animating SpiritWall Street Journal
    The skating princess Sasha in “The Great Frost,” adapted from Virginia Woolf’s“Orlando” for the 1977 PBS special “Simple Gifts,” is suffused with feminine mystery. Contrast that with the macho swagger and sharp moves of the violin-playing devil in PBS View the introduction to the film.
  5. Computer Programmers Learn Tough Lesson in SharingWall Street Journal
    Virginia Woolf argued that a woman writer needs a room of her own. In Silicon Valley, some companies are questioning whether software programmers even need their own cubicles. Their method is “pair programming”—where two people share one desk 
  6. ‘NW’ by Zadie Smith, New York Times
    If E. M. Forster’s “Howards End” provided an armature of sorts for “On Beauty,” the ghost of Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway” haunts “NW.” Not only does Ms. Smith employ a Woolf-like, stream-of-consciousness technique to trace her characters’ thoughts 
  7. Umbrella, By Will SelfThe Independent
    In recent interviews he has opined on the high Modernism of Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, and his new book adopts their techniques. Recounted in a series of monologues, Umbrella has no chapters and few paragraph breaks to interrupt the narrative flow 
  8. Interview: Pat Barker, author of new book Toby’s RoomScotsman
    I was also struck by the echo of Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room, in her choice of title, not least because Elinor is on the fringes of the Bloomsbury set, which briefly appears in both novels, and Elinor herself is partially patterned on Dora Carrington 
  9. Letting go — Phase two of a young life beginsBismarck Tribune
    St. Augustine and Dante to Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf. She’ll be too busy to be homesick, I hope, because she is about to discover that you surf through high school on your wits, but in college you actually have to earn your way to excellence and 
  10. Toby’s Room, By Pat BarkerThe Independent
    “What do we seek through millions of pages?” asked Virginia Woolf’s narrator in Jacob’s Room (1922), her elegy for her beloved brother, Thoby. “Oh, here is Jacob’s room.” A room, yes, but no Jacob. Where is he? Who was he? How did we come to lose him?
  11. Dear DiaryPatheos (blog)
    In fact, I modeled my journal on Virginia Woolf’s commonplace book: a place to keep notes on what I was reading, to record daily events and to probe my psyche, and to test out writing techniques. I’d find a metaphor for something I’d experienced, then 
  12. Is the Internet Making Us Forget?Daily Beast
    “What a lark, what a plunge,” opens Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, as Clarissa tosses open her French windows and is transported into her remembered past. “Live in the moment” is a directive we often hear these days in yoga class, but our ability to 
  13. Lisa Cohen (The Bat Segundo Show)Reluctant Habits
    Subjects Discussed: Spending years conducting book research, Esther Murphy, Mercedes de Acosta, and Madge Garland, Garland’s connection to Virginia Woolf,Virginia Woolf’s diaries, the early history of British Vogue, the side effects of spending 
  14. 6 LGBT Labor Day vacation beach readsBoston.com (blog)
    The writing is funny, heartfelt and smart—Bechdel references everything from Virginia Woolf and Adrienne Rich to psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, with a little Sondheim thrown in for good measure- and the artwork is beautifully detailed. This is a 
  15. No man’s land: Today’s female authors are tackling conflict head onThe Independent
    Or the subplot about the suicidal war veteran in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway? Are these not, in their way, stories of war too? If women have been writing about experiences of war on but, more often, off the battlefield, they are doing so more than 

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“Good Ol’ Women’s Rights” cartoon

We have all seen caricatures of Virginia Woolf. One appears on a coffee mug I use when I need a swig of inspiration. But there are also a number of Virginia Woolf cartoons out in cyberspace, and here are a few I found.

And for a real treat, get ahold of a copy of the new graphic novel Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel. It features pages of drawings and text that feature Woolf’s intellectual struggle with the concepts of private writing versus public writing, the influence of her mother and her novel To the Lighthouse.

Here’s a quote about Bechdel’s book from Gloria Steinem:

Many of us are living out the unlived lives of our mothers. Alison Bechdel has written a graphic novel about this; sort of like a comic book by Virginia Woolf. You won’t believe it until you read it—and you must!

Related articles

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So many Woolf sightings and so little time. I found both of these on the Virginia Woolf author Facebook page, which is not to be confused with my own Virginia Woolf Facebook page noted in the right sidebar.

The first find is a 13 x 9-inch print of an artist’s illustration of the Virginia Woolf quote, “There is no denying the wild horse in us.” Titled “Horse,” it’s for sale in the artist’s Etsy shop, Obvious State, for $24.

As the New York artist Evan Robertson explains, “I took little snippets of text and ideas from some of my favorite authors (with some notable exceptions that I’m saving), and let the words be a springboard for an illustration. The illustrations incorporate and interact with the text and hopefully add up to something that engages the mind as much as the eye.”

He has completed 23 of a planned 50 illustrations following that scheme.

The second is a drawing by Ellie Curtis that is based on Woolf’s novel The Waves. She, too, has an Etsy shop, and the fabrics you will find there seem reminiscent of the Bloomsbury Group. But why not? The designer lives in London.

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I was really excited when my dean allowed me to reactivate our old Literature & Film course. This class had not been taught in a number of years, the professor who had taught it left before I got here, and my dean was very happy to see someone interested in teaching it again.

My introduction to Mrs. Dalloway came in the course that inspired me to want to teach this class. I was first introduced to Mrs. Dalloway in Dr. Scott Rettberg’s From Books To Movies back at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 2004. I knew Woolf previously from reading Orlando, but I fell in love with her after reading about Clarissa Dalloway’s day. I knew I had to have Mrs. Dalloway on the book list for my course.

The way the course ended up running, we watched each film and discussed it as we watched. This ended up as something between serious literary/cinematic discussion and a lot of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Watching the film took about one and a half class sessions, and then we spent two full class sessions discussing the novel. We even had one of my colleagues, Erika Baldt, sit in on one of the sessions (which is something I want to do more of in the future).

My students came up with some interesting topics for papers and we had a great time discussing one of my favorite, if not favorite, novels. Our discussions of the move from the novel to film offered students a chance to discuss their excellent reactions to the film.

Some of these included:

  • The lack of connection between Clarissa and Septimus
  • A general sense of relief at Sally and Clarissa’s relationship (especially the kiss) not being overplayed
  • An acknowledgement that this is a very hard novel to adapt, which led to one of our best discussions of what should be in a good adaptation. This eventually became the theme for our final panel presentations at the end of the term.
  • Most students liked the way some of Clarissa’s monologue was brought into the film via dialogue.
  • A lot of criticism of the underplaying of class issues

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