Archive for November, 2016

Today would be Leonard Woolf’s 136th birthday. Take a look at these entries from Virginia’s published diaries, made on his birthday from 1921 through 1940. Then scroll down for photos of a commemoration to Leonard at Great Elm.


Leonard and Virginia Woolf on their wedding day in 1912.

Friday 25 November 1921:

“L’s 41st birthday; & he has just caught a mouse in his hands. . . L. has been dismissed & taken on in another capacity by the same post; & now, this afternoon, he has ben sketching a plan to Green, who is strnded, by whih she may become our secretary. The Hogarth Press, you see, begins to outtgrow its parents.” –  The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. II, P. 144.

Sunday 25 November 1928:

“Leonard’s 48th birthday. We were at Rodmell, where all has fallen into our hands, rapidly, unexpectedly: on top of the field we et a cottage, & Percy [Bartholemew] is ‘ourman’. – The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. III, P. 207.

Monday 25 November 1929:

“I merely add idly (ought I not to be correcting To the Lighthouse) that the difficulties with Nelly are to avoid an apology. She has weakened, & is now all out to catch us weakening. She wished L. many happy returns this morning.. . . I broadcast; & poured my rage hot as lava over Vita. She appeared innocent–I mean of telling H[ilda] M[atheson]. that I could easily cut my Brummel to bits. . . And then in a hurry to Rodmell, where the roof is on, & the floor stretched with planks. The bedroom will be a lovely wonderful room what I’ve always hoped for. – The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. III, P. 267.

Saturday 25 November 1933:

“L’s birthday. Off to see the Sickerts with a view to writing; see his letter. Dear me. This comes however after a lull: I mean they’re sitting in Kensington Gds & I want a breath before I go on to Kitty’s Party” – The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. IV, P. 190.

Wednesday 25 November 1936:

“L’s birthday. Lunch with Clive. The Princess, a waxy solid handsome lady with kind eyes. Not formidable. Ros. eddy Ld Berners. Talk all very brilliant. The usual sense of having done with that when it was half over. And the different changes of light. The intimacy. Then the superficiality. Very cold. An eyeless grey day The same subjects recur. Sybil. Ld. B’s jokes, the same. Ros. muffled & tentative. I, rather too erratic. The P[rincess]. out of things. And I must lunch with her & Ethel tomorrow.” – The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. V, P. 36-7.

Friday 25 November 1938:

“Li’s birthday — 58? But I open this, to note, at the foot of the last pessimistic page, in 2 minutes, the fact that pessimism can be routed by getting into the flow: creative writing. . . A fine cold day: L’s birthday.” – The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. V, P. 189.

Great Elm and Leonard Woolf

The village of Great Elm is the site of the rectory where Leonard Woolf often stayed with his university friend Leopold Campbell Douglas and his wife. It is also the site from which he set out to propose marriage to Virginia Stephen.

So when volunteers began fundraising to join Great Elm to the cycle route to Bath, they bought a brick to commemmorate his connection to the village. This has now been incorporated into an ornamental flight of steps beside the route.

The flight of steps at Great Elm.

The flight of steps near Great Elm Rectory


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Virginia Woolf Talks, a new series of talks for town and gown on Virginia Woolf and her wavescontemporaries, is supported by Lucy Cavendish College and Literature Cambridge.

The series is free and all are welcome. It includes:

  • Dame Gillian Beer on  “Reading The Waves Across a Lifetime,” Jan. 25, 2017, at 1 p.m.
  • Nanette O’Brien on “Prunes and Custard in the Archives: Virginia Woolf and Cambridge Food in A Room of One’s Own, March 3, 2017, at 1 p.m.

Both talks will be held at Lucy Cavendish, Library Seminar Room, Lady Margaret Road, CB3 0BU.

More Woolf events in England


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There’s a new Woolf zine in town. And it’s apparently called Woolf Zine.

A tweet brought the publication to Blogging Woolf’s attention and drove me to its website. There I learned that the publication “aims to inspire new thinking around Virginia Woolf, through bringing together academic, creative and non-traditional responses to her work and life.”

The zine is looking for illustrations, articles, arguments, creative work, narratives, poems, questions, queries, collages, short essays, stories, case studies, fan fiction and more to fill its first issue, due to be published Dec. 1.

The zine will be hand printed and distributed to universities across the UK and America. Those who contribute will also get a free download link so they can print one at home.

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Susan Sellers

Susan Sellers

The Eighteenth Annual Virginia Woolf Birthday Lecture, “Woolf and the Essay” by Susan Sellers, Professor of English and Related Literature, St Andrews University, and General Editor of the Cambridge University Press Edition of  the Works of Virginia Woolf, will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday 28 January 2017 at the Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. See map and directions.

The lecture is sponsored by the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain. The cost is £15 for Society Members and £20 for non-members. The event includes a wine reception following the lecture and a copy of the lecture when printed.  Bookings are available via the Institute of English Studies website.

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Literature Cambridge will hold two immersive summer courses on Virginia Woolf in July 2017 at A Room of One's OwnHomerton College, Cambridge. Each will include lectures, supervisions, and excursions.

Woolf’s Rooms

Woolf’’s Rooms will be held Sunday 16 July to Friday 21 July 2017. This five days of immersion in Woolf will include lectures by Gillian Beer, Jane Potter, Alison Hennegan, Trudi Tate, and Claire Nicholson.

Works to be studied include A Room of One’s Own, Jacob’s Room, The Waves, To the Lighthouse, and Between the Acts. We will spend a day on each book with a lecture and supervision, with further opportunities for participants to discuss the works with fellow students, visit places important to Woolf, and do more reading on your own.

Reading Bloomsbury

Reading Bloomsbury will be held Sunday 23 July to Friday 28 July 2017. Lectures
on Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf, Maynard Keynes, Lytton Strachey, and Leonard Woolf will be given by Frances Spalding, Alison Hennegan, Trudi Tate, Claudia Tobin (tbc) and Claire Nicholson.

The course will include lectures, supervisions, and excursions, such as a trip to Bloomsbury with an expert guide and a visit to the lovely Orchard Tea Room at Grantchester.

More about the courses

Courses start early Sunday evening, so students are advised to arrive in Cambridge by early afternoon. The courses finish late Friday evening with a formal dinner. Departure is Saturday morning.

The courses aim to complement one another without overlapping. Students are welcome to enroll for either or both. They are advised to book early if they wish to attend both courses and require Homerton accommodation for the Saturday night between the two courses.

Early booking

A discounted price is available up to 16 December 2016. After that date, members of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain can still get a special discount.

For more information and links for booking visit Literature Cambridge website or Facebook page. Questions: Email info@literaturecambridge.co.uk

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