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Archive for the ‘A Room of One’s Own’ Category

Poster for the Virginia Woolf in Turkey symposium, “Giving Voice to Woolf,” held Jan. 28, 2023, in Turkey. The symposium included an exhibition, a podcast series, and a performance — all focused on “A Room of One’s Own.” It was held in n collaboration with the British Council Turkey and the Museum Evliyagil.

Virginia Woolf is read and studied worldwide, but she has a newly expanded presence in Turkey due to the non-profit Virginia Woolf Studies in Turkey Initiative.

The organization promotes the study of Woolf and her work, along with the Bloomsbury Group, modernism, and the afterlife of Woolf in Turkey.

According to organizers, “It aims to create further links between Turkish specialists and their counterparts abroad. The Initiative welcomes scholars, writers, translators, artists, performers, publishers, students, and people who share a strong interest in Woolf’s works.”

The non-profit is dedicated to advance Virginia Woolf studies in Turkey from a comparative and critical perspective in several ways:

  • by convening symposiums, conferences, and lecture series; (See the photo at right for details about the first, held today.)
  • by publishing Woolf related studies; and
  • by organizing various informal gatherings and workshops.

Topics to explore

The Initiative will provide a platform for an intellectually rich, open, and collaborative working atmosphere for the Woolfians to explore the following:

  • Virginia Woolf’s works (fictional and non-fictional)
  • Virginia Woolf’s biography
  • Virginia Woolf as a reader, critic, and publisher
  • Virginia Woolf and feminism
  • Virginia Woolf as a philosopher
  • Critical perspectives on Virginia Woolf
  • Afterlife of Virginia Woolf in Turkey
  • Translations of Virginia Woolf’s works into Turkish
  • The Bloomsbury Group and art
  • Virginia Woolf and her contemporaries
  • Tracing Virginia Woolf in Turkish Literature
  • Virginia Woolf in the context of the early twentieth century Britain
  • Other relevant subjects

Co-founders of the non-profit are Mine Özyurt Kılıç, coordinator of the 2017 one-day exhibit at Harvard University, “A Press of One’s Own: Celebrating 100 Years of Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press,” and Demet Karabulut Dede.

Join and get more information

The initiative welcomes new members and guests. To join the mailing list and/or get more information, email: info@virginiawoolfturkiye.org or Mine Özyurt Kılıç: mine@virginiawoolfturkiye.org or Demet Karabulut Dede: demetkrblt@virginiawoolfturkiye.org

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Virginia Woolf’s writing lodge at Monk’s House in Sussex, England

Virginia Woolf’s feminist polemic A Room of One’s Own (1929) continues to matter to women, particularly those who identify as feminists.

In a video presented March 18 by the South Orange Public Library in honor of Women’s History Month, Anne Fernald discusses Woolf’s seminal book. In the hour-long “Virginia Woolf and ‘A Room of One’s Own’ Today,” Fernald discusses rooms, freedom, and how feminist writers and scholars think through Woolf today.

She also asks listeners to imagine what their own room dedicated to creative pursuits might look like.

Fernald is a professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Issues at Fordham University, editor of the Cambridge University Press edition of Mrs. Dalloway (2014) and author of Virginia Woolf: Feminism and the Reader (2006).

Virginia Woolf’s desk in her writing lodge at Monk’s House, 2019

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International Women’s Day is Monday, March 8, and the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain has put out a call that draws attention to the current plight of working women and connects it to Virginia Woolf’s feminist polemic A Room of One’s Own (1929).

With women’s employment taking a huge hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the VWSGB is asking us to share a photograph of a room of our own — if we are lucky enough to have one.

Women, work, and the pandemic

The pandemic has affected women’s work lives in drastic ways. The BBC is calling it a “shecession” and cites these facts:

  • Globally, women’s job losses due to Covid-19 are 1.8 times greater than men’s.
  • In the U.S., unemployment has intensified the most for those employed in personal care and food service jobs, where women predominate.
  • One in four women surveyed said they were thinking about reducing or leaving paid work due to the pandemic.
  • Those disproportionately affected in the U.S. include black women and Latinas.
  • Some subgroups are squeezed even more, like mothers of young children and mothers without partners or relatives.

In addition, recent projections estimate that employment for women may not recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2024—two full years after a recovery for men, according to Fortune.

The pertinence of A Room of One’s Own

So the British society has turned its attention to Virginia Woolf’s eternally pertinent feminist manifesto, A Room of One’s Own, a text the society writes, Now more than ever . . . is acutely relevant given that women’s work is being so squeezed and undervalued, and space is at a premium in family homes and elsewhere during life under lockdown, with working and schooling taking place in the home.”

Share your room of your own or your thoughts about the essay

So here’s the charge: Share photos of your own Room of One’s Own, if you are lucky enough to have one, or your reflections on Woolf’s essay A Room of One’s Own and what it means to you. The society will share contributions on its social media pages.

Email your contribution to marielleoneill88@hotmail.com

And on March 8, check the VWSGB social media accounts:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/VWSGB
Instagram: @virginiawoolfsociety
Twitter: @VirginiaWoolfGB

 

A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction. – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

 

Virginia Woolf’s desk in her writing lodge at Monk’s House, 2019

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The road to the ERA leads to Virginia, including Virginia Woolf. For although it was the state of Virginia that today became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, Virginia Woolf would surely approve.

When I read that news less than an hour ago, tears came to my eyes. If I hadn’t been at work, I probably would have let them fall. But I restrained myself and took to social media and this blog instead.

What happened today has been a long time coming. The ERA has a long history. It was nearly 100 years ago that Alice Paul crafted the amendment, which was first introduced in Congress in 1923 and subsequently reintroduced in every congressional session for half a century.

And the fight is not yet over. A Facebook friend who is also an attorney explained,

Now the legal battles begin. An opposing group has already filed for an injunction to prevent presentation to Congress based on the deadline. They will also say it is just plain too late, that the whole thing must start over. Proponents argue that the deadline was arbitrary, singular and an unconstitutional part of the process, inserted separately after the body of the Amendment was passed in an effort to scuttle it, and that a different Amendment (27) was ratified after 200 years of dormancy. Several red states that voted to rescind their ratification will also challenge, but there is no mention in the Constitution of a rescission process, only reversal as happened with Prohibition, plus, wouldn’t it be too late for that, too? (There are efforts in Congress to remove the deadline retroactively but, doubtful that will happen with this Congress. ) WHEW! I hope I am around to see a successful conclusion to an issue I have worked on for so long. And maybe even a woman President.

Meanwhile, thanks to the state of Virginia, Alice Paul, and all who came after her, including Virginia Woolf, whose feminist polemic A Room of One’s Own (1928) is part of the canon that propels us forward toward full equality.

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Cecil Woolf pauses in front of Persephone Books, Lamb’s Conduit Street, London, in June 2016.

Tucked away on Lamb’s Conduit Street in Bloomsbury, Persephone Books has been my favorite London bookstore since I first visited it — twice — during my 2016 trip.

That’s not just because it is located on the same street where Jacob Flanders of Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room had his very own room. It is also because the shop reprints neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-20th century (mostly) women writers. It is, in short, a treasure.

A stack of gray dust covers

Every time I visit, I cannot resist purchasing as many as I can carry of Persephone’s 135 books. From Marghanita Laski’s To Bed With Grand Music to Barbara Euphan Todd’s Miss Ranskill Comes Home, each is unique. And none has disappointed.

A stack of Persephone Books, each with its gray dust cover and colorful endpaper with matching bookmark, is eternally in my TBR pile, including the three I bought this year: They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple; Tory Heaven or Thunder on the Right, another by Laski; and Wilfred and Eileen by Jonathan Smith.

This year, though, I decided to spare myself. Having enough to carry, I had Persephone ship my books to my home in the U.S. They arrived within a week of my return, accompanied by a gracious hand-written note of thanks.

Still urgent today

And now Persephone, founded by Nicola Beauman, has printed a new edition of Virginia Woolf’s classic feminist polemic, A Room of One’s Own (1929). It is wrapped in Persephone’s classic soft gray dust cover, with the 1930 Vanessa Bell textile design “Stripe” as its endpaper and matching bookmark.

A Room of One’s Own, with its central premise that a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction, is a volume whose message has urgency and currency today, says Clara Jones, who wrote the preface.

The poetry and pragmatism of Woolf’s central claim about the room and the money have taken on renewed urgency today. The ubiquity of debt for a generation of young people who pay large university tuition fees, are charged prohibitive rents and paid low wages, combined with the fact that all but the luckiest (or best connected) with literary ambitions will begin their apprenticeship by working for free, make Woolf’s trinity of space, privacy and financial security as worth striving for as ever. – Clara Jones, Preface to Persephone edition of A Room of One’s Own

It is 90 years since Woolf wrote her iconic piece. You can read more about the Persephone edition (cost £13) on the Persephone website and in the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald.

About the founder and her store

Beauman herself is a legend in the world of book publishing — and in the world of Woolf. Along with Clara Farmer of the Hogarth and Chatto and Windus, she appeared on a panel at the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf in Reading, England. Aptly enough, the conference theme was Woolf and the World of Books, with Beauman and Farmer’s panel titled “Publishers, Publishing & Bookselling.”

Beauman began Persephone 20 years ago as a mail-order publishing business with a list of 12 books. She now has 30,000 subscribers to her free magazine The Persephone Biannually. And when the shop celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year, a crowd of fans stopped in throughout the day and evening.

Here’s what Beauman had to say about the books she publishes in an April 14 New York Times story acknowledging her store’s 20 years in business:

The connection between them is that they were forgotten and they’re very well-written. I’m very keen on story and on page-turners. When I get to the end of a book I like to put it down and feel absolutely wrenched by what I’ve read, to be in a different world.
I can attest to the power of the books Persephone publishes. Upon finishing each of my Persephone Books, I find it difficult to make my way back into my own everyday world. I am that affected by what I have read.

Get a close look at Lamb’s Conduit Street, as well as the inside and outside of Persephone, with this YouTube video, the 2018 pilot episode of “Fran’s Book Shop.”

Inside Persephone Books with founder Nicola Beauman at work at her desk, July 2017.

A table full of “Fifty Books We Wish We Had Published” at Persephone Books in July 2017

A wall full of books in the traditional gray dust covers at Persephone Books in 2017

Persephone Books isn’t shy about making political statements. This banner hung in the shop in 2018.

A Woolf sighting at Persephone Books in June 2018

The window display at Persephone Books changes. This was the view in July.

 

 

 

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