Archive for May 29th, 2015

Jane Marcus, distinguished professor emerita at CUNY and author of so much ground-breaking scholarship on Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, feminism, modernism and other topics, died May 28 at the age of 76. The news was announced by her son Ben. Since then, tributes to her have come in via the VWoolf Listserv, Facebook and Twitter.

Jane Marcus

Jane Marcus: 1938-2015

From Jean Mills:

She was a giant upon whose shoulders we all stand. Jane Marcus asked the important questions. Go back. Re-read her. All of it. There are gems to be mined there that will guide you, test you, frustrate you, but demand that you rethink possible. Her work will remain generative, bold, and meaningful to our own questions and research as we stay up late reading and writing forgetful of the tea kettle on the stove …but somehow certain that we’re on to something, something that matters.

From Christine Froula:

What very sad news. Jane’s pioneering scholarship and devoted teaching as well as her kindness and generosity have encouraged and inspired countless scholars of Woolf, Elizabeth Robins, feminism, modernism, and much more, and the enduring legacy of her own work will keep her spirit alive. We will miss you, Jane.

From Lauren Elkin:

It’s such a loss I don’t even know what to say, apart from simply that she was my mentor, and she taught me how to read, and how to be fierce. I hope I can live up to that legacy with my own students.

From Jan McVicker:

This is very sad news. Jane Marcus was a passionate thinker and her generosity was legend. I imagine there will be a tribute to her memory and legacy at the upcoming conference? I would be willing to help. Condolences to those who knew her well and to her family.

From Elisa Kay Sparks:

In her 1982 ground-breaking critique of traditional approaches to Virginia Woolf, “Storming the Toolshed,” Jane Marcus wrote: “It is an open secret that Virginia Woolf’s literary estate is hostile to feminist critics. There are two taboo subjects: on one hand her lesbian identity, woman-centered life, and feminist work, and on the other, her socialist politics. If you wish to discover the truth regarding these issues, you will have a long, hard struggle. In that struggle you will find the sisterhood of feminist Woolf scholarship” (Signs 13.1, p. 628). The degree to which those two subjects now provide the cornerstones of international Virginia Woolf studies is largely due to Jane Marcus’s long, hard years of struggle to document the full political and social context of Woolf’s writing. We are all forever in her debt.

From Bonnie Scott:

Jane was so many things to so many people, and to the authors she helped us see anew.  Her passion for following new lines of investigation was infectious, and she supported what she inspired?something I came to greatly appreciated when studying Rebecca West. I feel both bereft and blessed this morning.  Much love to the family she was so justly proud of.

From Diana Swanson:

She was and is an inspiration and one of the founding mothers of feminist scholarship and Woolf scholarship. Her contributions are incalculable.

From Allison Lin:

We will miss you, Jane… a wonderful Woolf scholar.

From Angeliki Spiropoulou:

Very sad news indeed. Her work is foundational.

From an unidentified member of the list:

This is terrible news — my very, very best to those who knew her well. Her work has been magnificent; and the generosity and real, insightful interest with which she engaged inexperienced young scholars, and normalized that interest, was wonderful. And she coined “the Virginia Woolf Soap Operas”! She will be missed so much.

I cut my teeth on Jane’s work when I was a fledgling graduate student working on my master’s in liberal studies with a focus on Woolf. I particularly appreciated her work on Woolf and anger, since that is a topic that continues to resonate. Though I never met her in person, I will miss her as well.

Added June 10, 2015:

Read Full Post »

Editor’s Note: Emma Slotterback is a student at Bloomsburg University who is writing a series of articles for Blogging Woolf in advance of the 25th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf: Virginia Woolf and Her Female Contemporaries, which will be held June 4-7 at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pa. This is the third article in the series.

By Emma Slotterback

Robin Callahan, Bloomsburg High School English teacher

Robin Callahan, Bloomsburg High School English teacher

As an aspiring high school teacher, I believe our involvement with the Bloomsburg Area High School and the Berwick Area High School is one of the most exciting relationships we have developed due to the conference. Continuing our effort towards building a new generation of Woolf scholars, we came up with another idea that would not only build connections within our town, but also encourage young people to read and write about Woolf.

We reached out to two local high schools and connected with two high school English teachers. We also collaborated with Dr. Michael Sherry who was previously an English professor at Bloomsburg University. Our goal was to extend an invitation to high school students to expand their knowledge on Woolf and develop papers that could be presented at the conference.

Megan Hicks, work study student

Megan Hicks, work study student

Both the teachers and the students were thrilled about this opportunity and began planning accordingly. We sent the teachers multiple lesson plans that could be used to teach Woolf and Dr. Sherry provided the students with copies of Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. The students began reading and discussing the book and each student came up with his or her own paper proposal.

Similar to what we did with the undergraduates, we took the students’ papers and sorted them into panels. These panels are also going to run alongside scholarly panels. To prepare for this, work study students such as myself and Megan Hicks have taken multiple trips to the local Bloomsburg Area High School to work with these students. During these trips, Megan and I would discuss the conference and ease any public speaking related anxieties the students might have. During one of our visits, we formed two small group of students and each student practiced reading his or her paper out loud. Practicing gave Megan and me the opportunity to give the students constructive criticism and praise.

The high school students will be presenting on Thursday and will be encouraged to attend all of the conference related events on that day. Many students have expressed interest in attending manyhs3 scholarly panels. After reading and writing on Woolf for an entire semester, these students are extremely excited to connect their schoolwork with outside experience and be able to develop new ways of thinking after hearing the ideas of others. This aspect of the conference is providing young people with experiences that will further their love for modernism and Woolf, as well as paving the way for the future generation of Woolf scholars.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: