Archive for the ‘Leonard Woolf’ Category

A piece by Leonard Woolf from the October 1955 issue (Vol. 2, No. 10) of The London Magazine is now online.

Titled “Coming to London — II,” it was reprinted in A Bloomsbury Group Reader edited by S.P. Rosenbaum and published by Blackwell Publishers in 1993.

In addition, much of it is incorporated in Leonard’s biography, according to the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain.

In the “London Magazine”, it was part of a regular series that was published in book form by Phoenix House, London, 1957, and then by Books for Libraries Press, Freeport, NY, 1971. The other contributors were: William Plomer, V. S. Pritchett, George Barker, J. B. Priestley, Elizabeth Bowen, Geoffrey Grigson, John Middleton Murry, Christopher Isherwood, Alan Pryce-Jones, William Sansom, Jocelyn Brooke, Rose Macaulay, Edith Sitwell.

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Clemson University Press is offering two books at a substantial discount until May 1. Download the flyer as a PDF.

An Annotated Guide to the Writings and Papers of Leonard Woolf

The revised edition of An Annotated Guide to the Writings and Papers of Leonard Woolf, by Janet M. Manson and Wayne K. Chapman (2018), 292 pp. (paperback). Normal retail: $34.95. 50% off: $17.50 plus s&h Order the book.

The Annotated Guide is a finding aid to collections of Leonard Woolf papers, which substantially augments previous research tools.

Virginia Woolf and the World of Books

Virginia Woolf and the World of Books, edited by Nicola Wilson and Claire Battershill (forthcoming, 2018), 310 pp. + (hardcover). Normal retail: $120. 70% off: $34.95 plus s&h Order the book.

Although it is not identified as such, this book contains the selected papers from the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, held last June at the University of Reading in Reading, England.

Just over 100 years ago, in 1917, Leonard and Virginia Woolf began a publishing house from their dining-room table. This volume marks the centenary of that auspicious beginning.

Inspired by the Woolfs’ radical innovations as independent publishers, the book celebrates the Hogarth Press as a key intervention in modernist and women’s writing and demonstrates its importance to independent publishing and book-selling in the long twentieth century.

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This Christmas day, I unwrapped a present from my landlady and, completely unexpectedly, a small purple hardback book with gold lettering and a beautiful portrait of Virginia Woolf fell onto my lap. I was delighted, and proceeded to read it cover to cover amidst wrapping paper and ended up holding back tears to prevent myself being utterly embarrassed in front of my in-laws.

virginia woolf life portraits

© Zena Alkayat and Nina Cosford

Virginia Woolf (Life Portraits) by Zena Alkayat and Nina Cosford poetically weaves the story of Woolf’s life with Alkayat’s considered text and Cosford’s illustrations, a fresh response to the Bloomsbury aesthetic. It opens with the following quote from Mrs Dalloway:

She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was on the outside, looking on.

This liminality, both the relation between work and life and Woolf’s psychological flux, is represented thoughtfully throughout the biography.

street haunting in life portrait

© Zena Alkayat and Nina Cosford

Alkayat focuses on the personal details of life: how Vanessa Bell’s sheepdog Gurth accompanied her “street haunting”, how Leonard and Virginia Woolf spent nights during the First World War in their coal cellar sitting on boxes, and that they later named their car “the umbrella”. She also puts us on a first name basis with Virginia, Vanessa and Duncan, et al. – a choice which made me feel closer to their world.

charleston in woolf life portrait

© Nina Cosford

Cosford’s illustrations are both sensitive to the Bloomsbury style and offer a fresh perspective. Her bold lines and patterns used to illustrate the pages about Vanessa Bell’s cover designs for Virginia Woolf’s novels, for example, are edged with mark-making in the mode of Bell. Her use of colour also seems emotive, following the waves of high and low that punctuate the narrative. Her illustrations capture the paraphernalia of every-day life, from the objects atop Woolf’s writing desk – diary, hair grips, photo of Julia, sweets – to the plants in the garden at Monks House, bringing Virginia’s life closer to home.

monks house plants

© Nina Cosford

Illustration and text come together beautifully in this miniature autobiography and would provide any reader with a poetic and surprising escape into the life of Virginia Woolf.


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If you haven’t joined the site Academia.edu, you may want to sign up. A number of papers on VirginiaLeonard Woolf bio cover Woolf and the Bloomsbury group are uploaded there and can be downloaded free of charge. Some of them were shared at recent Woolf conferences. You can also search the site for additional resources.

Recently uploaded papers include:

Read more.

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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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