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Archive for the ‘in memoriam’ Category

A print from Suzanne Bellamy’s “Virginia Woolf Series”

Tributes to Suzanne Bellamy, artist, writer, scholar, Australian feminist pioneer, and quintessential free spirit, are flooding social media and email inboxes since she passed away early on June 20 in her native Australia.

Conferences and art

I didn’t know Suzanne well, though many Virginia Woolf scholars did. I met her in 2007 at the 17th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf at Miami University of Ohio. I was a newbie to Woolf studies, and it was my first conference.

Suzanne had a table of her artwork at that event, as she often did, and that year she was right across the aisle from Cecil Woolf, whom I had just met for the first time. I must have said something that indicated I was a Woolf novice, because in her own inimitable fashion, Suzanne made sure that I knew exactly to whom I was speaking — THE Cecil Woolf!

Suzanne had a generous spirit. In 2011, she wrote a post for this blog that explained her painting “Woolf and the Chaucer Horse,” which she created for the 21st Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf. Over the years, she gave me many prints of her art that featured Woolf. One of them, that I framed and hung in my home, is pictured above. I plan to frame more.

Scholar, artist, feminist, and more

Suzanne was a published scholar of both Woolf and Gertrude Stein. But she was much more than that. She was an essayist. She worked in visual music and abstraction and lesbian modernism. Her work also included word jazz and ecology and water, according to her website.

Her first large solo U.S. show was at the Northampton Center for the Arts in Massachusetts in May/June 2003, and she was artist in residence at Smith College during the 2003 International Virginia Woolf Conference.

In London at the 2004 conference, she was a featured presenter with a jazz visual text improvisation called “Am I Blue?.” This was her scat word and visual painting interpretation of three Woolf experimental short fictions about war with large canvas paintings as set.

In 1969, Suzanne was also part of the first group of Women’s Liberation in Sydney. She taught Women’s Studies and Politics at Macquarie University from 1974 to 1980, a period she called “the great feminist years.” She was National Convenor of the First Women and Labour Conference in 1978 and she worked on all three Australian Women’s Commissions.

Below is just one of the many tributes to Suzanne that has been shared. This one was sent by Benjamin Hagen, president of the International Virginia Woolf Society. It is based on information shared by Suzanne’s dear friend, collaborator, and fellow Woolf scholar Elisa Kay Sparks.

Tribute from Ben Hagen, president of IVWS

I write now, however, with the sad news that Suzanne Bellamy, a friend and spiritual traveling companion to so many in the international Woolf community, passed away peacefully a little after midnight, this past Monday morning, Australian time.

Suzanne was particularly delighted that she had been able to participate in a panel at this year’s Woolf conference with Elisa Kay Sparks, Davi Pinho, and Maria Oliveira. Those of us who attended that virtual panel were struck by the power of the work she shared with us that day.

Though very ill, she was able to stay at home until last Wednesday. She was “completely present,” a friend reports, until Saturday, discussing lists of people to notify and what to do about artwork, etc. before she slipped into a quiet coma from which she did not wake up.

Suzanne was born 22 September 1948. Her friends in Australia are making sure that her property is secured and her artwork taken care of, fulfilling the requests in her will. They will gather together for a major celebration of Suzanne’s life in September, around her birthday and the solstice. As some of you know, much of Suzanne’s work—journals, artworks, and films about the Australian women’s movement—have already been sorted and placed in the Australian National Archives.

On behalf of the IVWS, I send condolences to all members who knew Suzanne, treasured her friendship and guidance, and benefited from the light she brought with her wherever she traveled. To those who did not know Suzanne, I hope you will have a chance in the coming weeks and months and years to learn about her artwork, her Woolf scholarship, her political activism, her goodness, her power, and her love.

Tribute from Claire Nicholson, chair, Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain

On behalf of all members of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain, I’d like to extend our deep condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Suzanne Bellamy. An inspiring artist and scholar, Suzanne was an unforgettable presence at  International Virginia Woolf Conferences. Her artistic vision, wide-ranging knowledge and warm sense of humour livened up many conference proceedings and she was held in real affection by Woolfians from all over the world. She will be much missed indeed, but leaves a wonderful legacy of her work which will be enjoyed for many years to come. Rest in peace, Suzanne.

“Woolf and the Chaucer Horse” by Suzanne Bellamy

 

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Bridge over the River Ouse in Sussex

Every year on this day I post something to commemorate the death of Virginia Woolf, the sad event that took place 81 years ago, on March 28, 1941, when she walked across the Sussex Downs into the River Ouse.

Past tributes have ranged from the detailed to the simple.

Today, I share New York Times coverage of her disappearance, as well as the discovery of her body. Both are from the archives.

  • “OBITUARY: Virginia Woolf Believed Dead, Special Cable to The New York Times, April 3, 1941
  • “Mrs. Woolf’s Body Found: Verdict of Suicide Is Returned in Drowning of Novelist,” The Associated Press, April 19, 1941

You can also read more NYT articles about Woolf — ranging from her influence on fashion to her times in Cornwall.

Virginia Woolf’s walking stick in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library

 

 

 

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Editor’s Note:  I did not know Laura Marcus personally, but her passing on Sept. 22 has prompted tributes from scholars and institutions around the world. Here is one of them, posted on the English faculty web page of the University of Oxford, where she was a Fellow of New College. Tributes to her scholarship, as well as her teaching and friendship, were also posted on social media.

Laura Marcus

Professor Laura Marcus

We are devastated to report the death on Wednesday 22 September 2021 after a short illness of Professor Laura Marcus FBA, Goldsmiths Professor of English Literature in the Faculty of English and Fellow of New College. In her influential work on modernism and Virginia Woolf, on life-writing and fiction and film, Professor Marcus was admired for her immense scholarly range, her mastery of theory and narrative and genres, her deep knowledge of literary and cultural connections and influences, and her illuminating, serious interest in, and practice of, feminist thought. Her book publications include Auto/biographical Discourses: Theory, Criticism, Practice (1994), Virginia Woolf: Writers and their Work (1997/2004), The Tenth Muse: Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period (2007). She was bringing to completion a new monograph built on her project ‘Rhythmical Subjects: the measures of the modern’ which the Faculty of English and Oxford University Press hope to see through to publication.

Her service to her profession and her subject was unstinting and inspiring. She was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in 2011 and was a much-loved, passionately engaged supervisor and mentor of other scholars at all stages of their careers. As a Delegate at Oxford University Press for approaching ten years, Laura read and evaluated hundreds of proposals across the span of literary studies and music and had a shaping influence on the Literature list, working closely with its editors. Colleagues at all levels of the Press found her to be a wonderful and supportive adviser, full of warmth and of interest in their work.

Miles Young, Warden of New College says, “New College grieves for Laura Marcus: she loved this college which had been her Oxford home for over ten years, and we loved her. Continuing a distinguished succession of Goldsmiths’ Professors, she added a particular lustre to the title through the creative breadth of her research and writing. She will be missed as a colleague who represented the epitome of academic courtesy, conscience and companionship.”

Professor Isobel Armstrong remembers: “Laura was a friend for almost forty years. These are my memories of her when she taught at Southampton. She seemed born with a formidable archival knowledge, worn so lightly. Unique was her intellectual charm and generosity as interlocutor: she would listen intently to someone’s ideas and then give them back creatively transformed, expanded and deepened, a wonderful gift even at her most stringent. She was innately witty – ‘you have to love a book enough to begin writing it and hate it enough to finish it.’”

Dame Hermione Lee FBA, FRSL speaks for so many of us who had the privilege of knowing Laura Marcus: “Writing on autobiography, Laura quoted Katherine Mansfield’s idea of the self as a plant which comes to the light: ‘and – we are alive – we are flowering for our moment upon the earth’. That flowering self of hers was grand, vital and lavish, and gave colour and brightness to all who encountered it. ”

Laura Marcus will be sorely missed.

 

 

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Cecil Woolf stops at 46 Gordon Square, London, while giving Blogging Woolf a personal tour of Bloomsbury in June 2016.

The call came a few weeks ago. Woolf scholars and friends were asked to provide video clips of five minutes or less that would share our memories of Cecil Woolf, who passed away June 10, 2019, just over two years ago

The project was the brainchild of Drew Shannon, associate professor in the Department of Liberal Arts at Mount St. Joseph University and organizer of the 2019 Virginia Woolf Conference, and Jean Moorcroft Wilson, Cecil’s widow.

The 44-minute video here, first shared at the 30th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf that wrapped up last Sunday, is the result.

It is not the final product, however, as this is is an ongoing project. Plans are in the works for continuing to celebrate and remember this beloved man, who was a friend, colleague, and publisher to so many people around the globe. The nephew of Leonard and Virginia is greatly missed by all who knew him.

Meanwhile, we hope this tribute video gives those who never had the opportunity to meet Cecil a glimpse into the charming and endearing man he was.

a series

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Today marks the 80th anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s death, which is being noted around the globe.

Emma Woolf ruminates

Her great-niece, Emma Woolf, daughter of the late Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson, has marked this day with the following two articles:

Emma Woolf shared these photos on her Facebook page.

Yay Virginia, say the Italians

The Italian Virginia Woolf Society is holding an online event on Facebook  11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (EDT) today titled “Eviva Virginia,” which features readings of her works, along with a celebration of her life.

And the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain celebrated Woolf’s work by posting this on their Facebook page:

Facebook tribute from VWSGB 

“80 years ago today the world lost a great writer in Virginia Woolf. However, we would prefer to celebrate her life, and the fact that she gave us ten novels, a biography, two feminist treatises, three dozen short stories, enough essays and reviews to fill six chunky volumes, thousands of letters, perhaps the most detailed diary by any writer, several memoirs, three Russian translations, a comic play, a juvenile newspaper, as well as numerous photograph albums. Enough material, that is, to keep Woolfians interested to the present day and beyond.”

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