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Archive for the ‘in memoriam’ Category

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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Ane Thon Knutsen in her home printshop

Editor’s Note: Today marks the 79th anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s death, and as this post shows, she and her work continue to inspire artists and writers across the globe.

Virginia Woolf’s numerous experiences with illness led her to write the essay On Being Ill, published in 1930 by the Hogarth Press. Inspired by this work and the current coronavirus, Norwegian typesetter Ane Thon Knutsen, who has two projects focused on Woolf under her belt — A Printing Press of One’s Own and The Mark on the Wall — has now begun a third.

Woolf’s exploration of the consequences of illness

“Due to Covid-19 I have cast my eyes upon On Being Ill,” Knutsen explained. “This felt like something to get me through.

“The essay is about the consequence of illness; loneliness, isolation and vulnerability. But when we are forced to stop and slow down, we may notice the beauty in the small details of the world around us, and that our everyday, ordinary life is what we miss the most,” she said.

Working from home under quarantine in a printshop of her own

Ane Thon Knutsen’s letterpress

Knutsen, mother of a four-year-old, says her project allows her to combine motherhood with work under Norway’s self-imposed quarantine. The country made the move, which is in place at least until Easter, to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

“I like being alone working, and I am blessed with a workshop at home. So I contemplated a Quarantine project that works with the circumstances,” she said.

Her project: using her printing press to print one sentence on one sheet of paper every day from On Being Ill “until we can go back to normal. I hope I will not make it through, as we’re counting about 140 sentences, and the paper is restricted to leftovers from my stock,” Knutsen explained.

Published on Instagram

Five days ago, she began posting a photo of each page on her Instagram account, @anethonknutsen. As of today, she is on sentence number six. The project, she says, “will present a very slow reading of the story.

“In the end (when that will be, who knows), I will make a box with all the sheets — like a calendar of sorts. Hopefully I will exhibit it as a wall piece in the future,” she said.

The project is set in 10-point Goudy Old Style. For the ink, Knutsen has “mixed a rich gray ink… inspired by the dust jacket by Vanessa Bell, and the colour of the lead type. It softens the appearance of the words on the page,” she explained on Instagram.

She hopes to print 20 copies, in a 208 mm x 135 mm format, the same as Woolf’s 1930 edition.

Sentence two from Virginia Woolf’s “On Being Ill”

Sentence one from Virginia Woolf’s “On Being Ill”

A tray filled with type set for Ane Thon Knutsen’s letterpress

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Kind. Gentle. Tough. Those were the words used to describe Cecil Woolf in the Camden New Journal story reporting on the Oct. 19 memorial service held in his honor at St. Peter’s Church in Belgravia, London.

Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson at their home in London, June 2017.

About 150 friends, relatives, colleagues, and admirers attended the service for Cecil, the oldest living relative of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, who died June 10 in London at the age of 92.

Claire Nicholson, chair of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain, and Vivien Whelpton of the War Poets Association spoke, as did his widow, Jean Moorcroft Wilson. Each recalled Cecil’s work as a a gentleman, a publisher, and an advocate for social justice.

More memorials in print

Issue 95, the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of the International Virginia Woolf Society’s Miscellany will include a special section devoted to Cecil.

In addition, a paper based on the panel “The Woolfs, Bloomsbury, and Social Justice: Cecil Woolf Monographs Past and Present,” which was presented at the 29th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, has been accepted for publication in the two-volume conference proceedings. Published by Clemson University Press, each volume will include 16 essays.

Retitled “The Woolfs, Bloomsbury, and Social Justice: the Ongoing Legacy of Cecil Woolf Publishers as an Advocate for Social Justice,” the paper will be co-written by:

  • Karen Levenback (Franciscan Monastery). Introduction to Cecil Woolf Publishers
  • Lois Gilmore (Bucks County Community College), “A Legacy of Social Justice in Times of War and Peace.”
  • Paula Maggio (Blogging Woolf), “Cecil Woolf Publishers: Using the Power of the Press to Advocate for Peace.”
  • Todd Avery (University of Massachusetts, Lowell), “Just Lives of the Obscure: Cecil Woolf, Biography, and Social Justice.”
  • Vara Neverow (Southern Connecticut State University) Respondent

This photo of Cecil Woolf as a young lance-corporal fighting in Italy in the Second World War was used on the cover of the Order of Service at his Oct. 19 memorial service.

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