Archive for the ‘place’ Category

Editor’s Note: Maggie Humm provided Blogging Woolf with the story and images of her experience working with France Culture radio and the French TV channel ARTE’s series Invitation Au Voyage on programs about Virginia Woolf.

By Maggie Humm

A cold, windy day in April 2019 saw me walking and talking in Kensington for France Culture radio about Virginia Woolf’s London childhood and her own daily walks with her father. Thankfully, my talk didn’t have to be in French or delivered sideways as in The West Wing.

Maggie Humm with the French TV channel ARTE’s series Invitation Au Voyage in St. Ives

France Culture has over 3,000 podcasts and items about Virginia Woolf. Director Simonetta Greggio simply said, “I love Woolf.”

Woolf and France past

As Blogging Woolf readers know, Charles Mauron translated “Time Passes” from To the Lighthouse in Commerce as early as Winter 1926, and Woolf’s works were translated into French more quickly than into other languages.

Woolf knew several leading French intellectuals including Mauron – Jacques Raverat and Jacques-Émile Blanche – and the translation of Mrs Dalloway had a preface by André Maurois. Simone de Beauvoir discusses Woolf in The Second Sex.

To the lighthouse

Top of my bucket list however was visiting Godrevy Lighthouse thanks to Lolita Rivé of Elephant Productions who invited me to present “Cornwall Through the Eyes of Virginia Woolf” as part of the French TV channel ARTE’s series Invitation au Voyage.

It’s not possible to convey my excitement and delight reading To the Lighthouse at Godrevy Lighthouse, as well as reading The Waves on St. Ives beach.

Maggie Humm heads to Godrevy Lighthouse with the French TV channel ARTE’s series Invitation Au Voyage. As Woolf said about St. Ives Regatta Day – it made her ‘think of a French picture’ (MOB: 132). Vive la France!

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Got a cool £1.9m?

If so, you can buy a home in County Berkshire once used by the Bloomsbury Group.

Known among Woolfians as Tidmarsh,The Mill House  has been on the market since last summer. The historic Tudor property dates in part back to the 13th century, but the main house is thought to have been built around 1600.

It was the residence of artist Dora Carrington and author Lytton Strachey from 1917-1924. Their rent was £52 a year for a three-year lease.

During their years there, the couple was visited by well known fellow members of the group, including Virginia Woolf and Maynard Keynes.

Carrington’s painting of the home illustrates the front cover of the 1970 edition of Carrington: Letters and Extracts From Her Diary, edited by David Garnett.

The current owners, who have lived on the property on the River Pang since the mid-1980s, say they still get visits from admirers of the Bloomsbury Group.

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As usual, Bloomsbury and Virginia Woolf are in the news. Here are some links to recent stories in both print and online publications.

Find more Woolf sightings.

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Virginia and Leonard Woolf lived in Richmond, a suburb just 15 minutes from central London by train, from 1915 to 1924.

They occupied two houses during their years there. The first was rooms in number 17 on the east side of The Green, which is still considered “one of the most beautiful urban greens surviving anywhere in England.”

The second was Hogarth House on Paradise Road. According to Julia Briggs in Virginia Woolf an Inner Life, the Woolfs took the lease on the property on Virginia’s 33rd birthday. Hogarth House was part of the present Suffield House, which at that time was divided into two separate homes. The Woolfs occupied half of the Georgian brick home, moving there in early March of 1915.

One of England’s famous blue plaques, added in 1976, is affixed to the house to commemorate the Woolfs’ residency. The plaque is one of 15 in Richmond.

The Hogarth Press

The Hogarth Press began publishing at Hogarth House in July 1917. Woolf published Two Stories, Kew Gardens, Monday or Tuesday and Jacob’s Room between 1917 and 1924. Woolf could see Kew Gardens from the rear windows of Hogarth House.

When German air raids during World War I disturbed the sleep and the safety of the Woolfs and their servants, they moved to the basement at night. And when peace came, Woolf celebrated along with other Richmond residents. On July 20, 1919, she wrote her diary entry about the “peace” celebrations:

After sitting through the procession and the peace bells unmoved, I began after dinner to feel that if something was going on, perhaps one had better be in it…The doors of the public house at the corner were open and the room crowded; couples waltzing; songs being shouted, waveringly, as if one must be drunk to sing. A troop of little boys with lanterns were parading the Green, beating sticks. Not many shops went to the expense of electric light. A woman of the upper classes was supported dead drunk between two men partially drunk. We followed a moderate stream flowing up the Hill. 

Richmond makes its way into Woolf’s novels as well. In The Waves, for example, the reunion dinner at the end takes place at Hampton Court, which is located in Richmond. In the novel, Bernard calls it the  “meeting-place” for the group of six longtime friends.

Like most things in life, though, Woolf wavered between liking and disliking Richmond. Briggs says that even though Woolf described Hogarth House in one of her diaries as “a perfect house, if ever there was one,” by June of 1923 she was anxious to move back to London. In a diary entry that month, she wrote, “we must leave Richmond and set up in London.”

In March of 1924, the Woolfs left Richmond to move back to London. They set up housekeeping and publishing at 52 Tavistock Square.

To reach Hogarth House from London today, you can take the Underground District Line to Richmond or British Rail from Waterloo Station.

Read a modern-day paen to Richmond published in the April 18 issue of The Boston Globe.

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"Waving at the Gardener," the 2009 Asham Award collection of short stories, will be published by Bloomsbury in September.

"Waving at the Gardener," the 2009 Asham Award collection of short stories, will be published by Bloomsbury in September.

Another home once owned by Virginia Woolf is in the news. Earlier this month, the news was that the Round House is up for sale. Now the news is that the site of Asham House is full of trash.

Asham House, Woolf’s country home in Sussex from 1912 to 1919, was demolished in 1994 so that a landfill could expand. The Virginia Woolf Society opposed the demolition, but it took place anyway. 

The amount paid in compensation to the East Sussex County Council was used in part to set up the Asham Literary Endowment Trust.

Now the 60-acre landfill — which has taken in around 250,000 tons of rubbish each year — is full. It will close today for what operators call a “substantial restoration programme.”

The program will restore the site to a “Sussex Downland standard, in keeping with the surrounding environment and landscape, providing a high quality habitat for plants and animals,” according to a story in the Mid Sussex Times.

When Virginia and Leonard Woolf lived in Asham House, the legend was that the house was haunted. This became the basis for Woolf’s two-page short story “A Haunted House,” which tells the tale of a ghostly couple who glide through the rooms of their well-loved home at night.

Ironically, the gentle ghostly couple were searching for “buried treasure.” But neither Woolf nor her fictional characters could have imagined the tons of trash that would be buried on the site over the course of 15 years.

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