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Archive for the ‘Bloomsbury’ Category

Sigrid Nunez is most known to Woolfians for Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury, her 1998 (and reissued in 2019) fictional portrait of the Woolfs’ pet monkey, inspired by Flush, Virginia Woolf’s similar treatment of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s dog.

Bloomsbury makes a brief appearance in her new novel, What Are You Going Through, a series of musings, meetings and memories. The nameless narrator follows some anecdotes about the divisions between women and men by reflecting that while she doesn’t like romance fiction, she’s fascinated by stories of unconventional or hopeless love. She imagines a collection of these tales, called Women in Strange Love.

She considers Dora Carrington’s unrequited love and devotion to Lytton Strachey, her marriage to Ralph Partridge and their lopsided ménage à trois to accommodate Lytton’s passion for Ralph. She recaps Carrington’s suicide two months after Lytton’s death. Virginia Woolf visited Carrington the day before and recounted that she said, “There is nothing left for me to do; I did everything for Lytton.” Woolf’s parting impression of Carrington was “Like some small animal left.”

“Women’s stories are often sad stories,” observes the narrator.

Nunez novel reflects on women’s lives—friendship, aging and death—in the context of the narrator’s response to a friend with terminal cancer. The title is a translation from Simone Weil, who said that love of one’s neighbor is being able to ask the question, Que lest ton tourment?

 

 

 

 

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Members of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain will spend Valentine’s Day with Virginia Woolf reading love letters between members of the Bloomsbury Group aloud.

Letters will include those between Woolf and Vita Sackville-West.

The meeting and reading of romantic letters will take place via Zoom on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 8 p.m. GMT or 3 p.m. EST. Members of the VWSGB can register by emailing Marielle O’Neill at marielleoneill88@hotmail.com.

If you are not a member of the group, find out how you can join.

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Online art exhibit

Louisa Amelia Albani, whose pamphlet and companion exhibit on Virginia Woolf we featured in July, is currently holding an online art exhibition inspired by Woolf’s essay “Oxford Street Tide.” Take a look.

Online reading group

Starting Monday, Jan. 11, and running through Monday, April 12, 2021, Anne Fernald will lead a Zoom reading group dubbed “All Woolf” at the Center for Fiction, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit dedicated to fiction writing. The fee is $120 for four sessions, with an additional fee charged for books. Meetings begin at 6 p.m. EST.

Online view of The Bloomsbury Look

View “The Bloomsbury Look,” Saturday, Nov. 28, at 2 p.m. via a free virtual event with author Wendy Hitchmough as she speaks live from the Charleston studio to art historian Frances Spalding. The event will include the opportunity to submit questions live, and signed copies of The Bloomsbury Look are available to purchase through the Charleston online shop. However, the link to the event is not up right now, and unfortunately the book is out of stock.

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Here are links to a few resources of interest to Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury aficianadoes:

  • On BBC Radio 4’s “Great Lives”: Listen to why James Graham is inspired by John Maynard Keynes, along with expert analysis by economist Linda Yueh.
  • In the LA Times: Read a quote from Woolf about writers’ neglect of food.
  • In Issue XXXVII of Piano Nobile’s InSight: Read about Virginia Woolf’s relationship with artist Mark Gertler.
  • A foundation named after Virginia Woolf: “In Woolf’s Words,” by the Hong-Kong-based company Woke Up Like This. WULT was recently heavily criticized for naming another shade in its “Face Daubs” line after Anne Frank. The company took it off the market.

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Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury is a book about Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s pet marmoset that they adopted in 1934 and took with them when they visited Berlin in 1935. And it is now available on Amazon, with the e-book selling for $1.99 and the paperback $11.19.

At that price, I couldn’t resist adding the Kindle version to my Woolf collection, even though I already own the hardcover version published by Harper Flamingo in 1998.

Author Sigrid Nunez drew on memoirs, letters, diaries, biographies, and her imagination to write this mock biography that is said to pay homage to Woolf’s Flush.

Accolades from reviewers

According to reviewers, it “offers a striking look at the lives of writers and artists shadowed by war, death, and mental breakdown, and at the solace and amusement inspired by its tiny subject.”

This new edition includes an afterword by Peter Cameron and a never-before-published letter about Mitz by Nigel Nicolson.

It was also named one of NPR’s best books of 2019. Here’s what NPR had to say in its review:

Mitz captures the heartrending downside of love and connection — loss. But it also reminds us, beautifully, of the “great solace and distraction” of literature.

At this time in history, as in the late 1930s, we can all use some solace, as well as some distraction.

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