Archive for January, 2014

As it turns out, sound studies in Virginia Woolf is a fairly new field. And in response to a query on9780748637874.cover the VWoolf Listserv, “the ‘sound in Mrs. Dalloway‘ article is yet to be writtten,” according to Anne Fernald, whose Cambridge Edition of the novel will soon be published by Cambridge University Press.

Interestingly, back in 2011, a student in one of Fernald’s classes at Fordham University wrote a blog essay titled “Allerseelen and Mrs. Dalloway,” in which she explores the eponymous street song in the novel.

A book newly published by Edinburgh University Press, Virginia Woolf and Classical Music: Politics, Aesthetics, Form (2013), offers an overview of the young adult Stephens’ exposure to music — from opera to the gramophone. Author Emma Sutton  then follows Woolf into her married life to document her musical tastes and point out how, “To many of Woolf’s early reviewers, the parallels between (contemporary) music and her work were self-evident” (15).

Sutton also provides detailed commentaries on Woolf’s allusions to classical repertoire and composers in her novels and considers the formal influence of music on Woolf’s prose and narrative techniques. And as one Listserv reader pointed out, the bibliography of Sutton’s work would prove an invaluable resource on Woolf and sound.

Respondents to the list also recommended the following resources for a study of Woolf and sound:

  • Crapoulet, Emilie.Virginia Woolf: A Musical Life. No. 50. Price £7.50
  • J. Hillis Miller’s chapter in Fiction and Repetition
  • Anna Snaith’s work on sound in general
  • Cristina Ruotolo on music
  • Rishona Zimring on social dance
  • Also look for stray comments on the backfiring car and music in others’ work
  • Look for more music in the draft version of the novel, reprinted as “The Hours.” Stravinsky is mentioned at the party (341), and Joseph Breitkopf’s favorite song is identified.
  • Pamela Caughie’s scholarship on sound, including her piece in Virginia Woolf in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (2000).
  • Melba Cuddy-Keane’s “Modernist Soundscapes and the Intelligent Ear: An Approach to Narrative Theory through Auditory Perception,” in A Companion to Narrative Theory. Ed. Phelan and Rabinowitz, pub. in 2005. The chapter addresses the “increased auditory awareness” that results from “urban soundscapes” in Woolf’s short fiction and novels; Cuddy-Keane frames her discussion as part of her larger project “to promote the development of a critical methodology and a vocabulary for analyzing narrative representations of sound” (382). Although the essay contains only one page directly addressing MD, it’s very useful for thinking about sound in Woolf’s urban landscapes.
  • Rishona Zimring’s essay about sound in The Years: “Suggestions of Other Worlds: The Art of Sound in The Years.” Woolf Studies Annual 8 (2002).
  • Angela Frattarola’s “Developing an Ear for the Modernist Novel: Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Richardson, and James Joyce” in the Journal of Modern Literature 33.1 (2009).
  • Garrett Stewart’s chapter on The Waves in his Reading Voices
  • “The Modern Auditory I,” by Steven Connor, in Rewriting the Self: Histories from the Renaissance to the Present, ed. by Roy Porter (Routledge 1997). Many writers are discussed, including Joyce and Beckett, but there’s also a short paragraph on Mrs. Dalloway.

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A birthday horoscope for Virginia

It’s Virginia Woolf’s birthday, and here is her horoscope for the day, along with a musical tribute to Aquarians, of which she was one.

The predictions for her day make me think she would have spent it with some of her Bloomsbury friends after calculating her likely income from her book sales and other ventures before deciding on a new improvement to Monk’s House.

Rekindle happy memories by touching base with old friends. Scrutinize financial investments before taking action.

Read more about past birthday celebrations for Virginia:

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“Such is the cold today”

Such is the cold today that I doubt whether I can go on with my disquisition. On such a day one would need to be of solid emerald or ruby to burn with any flame, & not merely dissolve in grey atoms in the universal grey. I saw no one on Richmond High Street who seemed to be burning with the intensity of ruby or emerald–poor pinched women, absolutely mastered by circumstances, though I did hear one speak of going home to get tea ready, which suggested the possibility of some individual life for her. Diary V: 1, 30 January 1919.

It’s minus one in Ohio today, and I second Woolf’s sentiments.

A thank you to fellow-Ohioan Kimberly Engdahl Coates of Bowling Green State University for the quote, which she shared on Facebook.

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Woolf and Book History at MLA 2014Woolf and Book HistoryWoolf and Book HistoryWoolf Dinner 2014: The MenuWoolf Dinner 2014Woolf Dinner 2014
Woolf Dinner 2014

Woolf at MLA 2014, a set on Flickr.

A few photos from the outstanding Virginia Woolf panel, “Virginia Woolf and Book History,” at the MLA in Chicago, and the Virginia Woolf Dinner at Shaw’s Crab House on Saturday, Jan. 11, which was organized by Leslie Hankins. A lovely time was had by all.

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