Archive for November, 2012

Leslie Stephen and his daughter Virginia Woolf...

Leslie Stephen and his daughter Virginia Woolf 1902 (Photo credit: ADiamondFellFromTheSky)

It’s no wonder that Catherine Hollis noticed when the Nov. 26 edition of the Paris Review included an article on Leslie Stephen as montaineer. After all, she wrote a monograph for Cecil Woolf Publishers published in 2010 titled Leslie Stephen as Mountaineer: Where does Mont Blanc end, and where do I begin?’.

The Paris Review piece, “Peaks and Valleys: Leslie Stephen, Mountaineer,” was written by Alex Siskin, a Hollywood film producer with a passion for Leslie Stephen, Virginia Woolf and the writing of modernist women, according to Hollis. Thus, one can read a variety of posts on the topic of Virginia Woolf and her father on his blog, zhiv.

Just because Hollis wrote a monograph about Leslie Stephen as mountaineer doesn’t mean she is done with the topic. As part of the writing process, she “stumbled up his routes on Mont Blanc, the Rimpfischorn, the Schreckhorn (partially), the Jungfrau, and others between 2007 and 2011.”

And she has posted some of the stories of her climb on her blog, Downhill All the Way. There, you can experience much of the climb with none of the exertion.

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The things I do for Virginia Woolf. Or I should say, for my fixation on fictional sightings of Woolf.

Back in July, Keri Barber alerted the VWoolf Listserv to a sighting in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I hadn’t heard of the book but immediately went to my library database to request it. Imagine my surprise when I saw that there were more than 200 people ahead of me on the queue! Then I learned that this “whodunnit” was the runaway best-seller of the summer. Well, my ignorance is understandable as I don’t read contemporary mysteries and don’t pay much attention to the best-seller lists.

My reserved book came through last week, and I tiptoed in with a little trepidation. For the first 50 pages or so I thought, what am I doing here? This is insipid; I don’t want to waste my time. But if there’s a Woolf reference…? I kept reading and became intrigued by the form, alternating chapters in the voices of the protagonists, the husband’s narrative of his wife’s disappearance on their fifth anniversary, the wife’s diaries dating back to the time they met. As the plot thickened–and wow, did it–I was hooked.

By the time I got to page 247 I was camped out on the couch in marathon reading sessions broken up only by tea and snacks. I’d almost forgotten that I was doing this for Woolf, but then she appeared. I can’t say anything about the context of the  reference without giving something away, but here it is: “I’ll drop silently over the side, my pockets full of Virginia Woolf rocks.”

I stuck a post-it on the spot and kept turning the pages, one after another until I got to the end last night. My “sacrifice” turned out to be a jolly romp, and now I’m ready for the next one. Anything for Virginia Woolf, right?

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If you are in “a wolfish mood,” it may help to watch the charming trailer for the lovely children’s book Virginia Wolf that won the 2012 Gov­er­nor General’s Lit­er­ary Award, Children’s Lit­er­a­ture Illus­tra­tion.

Written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, it tells the story of two sisters, Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. Prepare to be captivated by the art, as well as the sweet voice of the child who narrates the trailer.

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This week in Woolf sightings, a transgender activist makes a case for a rest room of her own (1), Houston novelist Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni explains her need for a writing room of her own (2), 22-year-old pop star Ke$ha references Room (3) and an art reviewer connects the Deborah Kass Effect to the Virginia Woolf Effect (8).

  1. My womanhood is valid’: transgender activist Janet Mock calls for change, Telegraph.co.uk
    Virginia Woolf famously called for a A Room of One’s Own, setting out the need to make space for women in a man’s world. More than 80 years later, another woman is making a similar argument. But this time, rather than claiming a space to write and 
  2. Author Chitra Divakaruni’s favorite room is a space of calm during creative stormsCultureMap Houston
    According to Virginia Woolf, having a room of one’s own is essential for female artists to create. Almost a century later, award-winning Houston novelist Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni understands that essential need for a writer to have a room that is 
  3. Why Ke$ha’s New Memoir Is 2012’s Answer to ‘The Feminine Mystique’, The Atlantic
    Now, let’s be real—it’d still be a big, big stretch to cast America’s frattiest female pop star as the neon-painted face of the feminist movement on that basis. Virginia Woolf almost certainly would have objected to lyrics like “I don’t care where you 
  4. The Art of the Critic: On James Woodlareviewofbooks
    Virginia Woolf’s essays do this, as do Randall Jarrell’s and V. S. Pritchett’s. (Pritchett: “Beckett’s novels are lawsuits that never end.”) Because these critics tend to be novelists or poets their perspective on books is firmly rooted in the creative 
  5. Michael Cunningham shares his thoughtsThe Star Online
    You tend to draw on literary references in your works, for example Virginia Woolf in The Hours and Walt Whitman in Specimen Days. Does that happen organically when you’re writing? Whitman and Woolf, and Thomas Mann, who is a smaller presence in By 
  6. Iyambo, God Father of ?Nyama Choma?AllAfrica.com
    Eenhana — British novelist Virginia Woolf is quoted as saying, “one cannot think well, love well and sleep well, if one has not dined well.” “Dinning well” is the feeling one gets while digging into scrumptious nyama choma, and spinach at Ekanda 
  7. Lindsay Lohan ‘too serious’ for friendsBelfast Telegraph
    “My friends didn’t come to my trailer a lot because I was Cleopatra and Virginia Woolfthe entire time,” she laughed during an appearance on Good Morning America today. “I hope my love for acting really shows through. I did the best that I could and I 
  8. Deborah Kass at the Andy Warhol Museum: Seeing Through the Mirror of Her Huffington Post
    For those who haven’t experienced the Deborah Kass effect, suffice that I compare it to the Virginia Woolf Effect–the phasing in and out of time streams and locales, masculine and feminine identities. The difference is that, the Kass Effect isn’t 
  9. AfterEllen.com’s Best Lesbian Week Ever: Nov. 10 – Nov. 16Huffington Post (blog)
    Getting lit: NYC has a new lesbian bar, The Dalloway, and it’s named after a Virginia Woolfcharacter. Something tells me the women aren’t going there to do any reading. LOL: Ellen DeGeneres said she enjoyed Kate McKinnon’s impression of her on SNL 
  10. Jungle law unchangedThe Age
    Woolf returned to England, married Virginia Stephen, and dedicated his only novel, The Village in the Jungle (1913) to her. In Sri Lanka, a century later, the system remains as inadequate as he described it, to serve communities that are still divided 
  11. Gift Guide 2012: TravelWall Street Journal
    In particular, Virginia Woolf haunts this book. Her novels had water running through them; it was in the Ouse that Woolf drowned herself in 1941. “To the River” can be purchased as an e-book in the United States. It’s still in search of a print ...
  12. Human face of sufferingSydney Morning Herald
    Virginia Woolf, whose novel Jacob’s Room was written for her dead brother Thoby, inspires Barker’s title. Woolf’s sister, Vanessa Bell, is briefly glimpsed, as is Lady Ottoline Morrell. The story of Toby and Elinor Brooke is fictional but it echoes the 
  13. A room of her own: The battle for the Women’s LibraryTelegraph.co.uk
    If a woman is to write fiction, declared Virginia Woolf in 1929, she must have a room of her own. And, the author noted, money. The Women’s Library, based in London’s East End, has provided just such a room for more than 75 years. But money has, of 
  14. A ‘Wicked’ test of timeAlbany Times Union
    The idealistic nerdess bears some chromosomal resemblance to the young Virginia Woolf, for her acerbity and intellect; and to the young Laura Nyro, for her invention and energy; and to the older Emily Dickinson, for her willingness to retire when the 

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Blogging Woolf contributor Alice Lowe clued us in to “a lovely literary Thanksgiving” message written by Anne Lamott in which she gives thanks for her author father, her classics-loving mother, her local librarian, Dr. Seuss and long literary conversations with her father about such authors as Virginia Woolf.

The Prayer of an Unconventional Family“appears in the Nov. 17 issue of the New York Times.

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