Archive for the ‘Time Passes’ Category

booksDid Virginia Woolf like science fiction? Did science fiction influence her novels? Those questions never occurred to me until I read a Web site post titled “The Science Fiction Writer Who Received Fan Mail from Virginia Woolf.”

The piece reports on an article by Kim Stanley Robinson in New Scientist that discusses Woolf’s correspondence with the influential science fiction writer Olaf Stapledon.

In it, Robinson says Woolf did more than just read science fiction. She also allowed it to influence her writing. Robinson cites Orlando and the “Time Passes” section of To the Lighthouse as evidence for her claim.

She also cites correspondence from Woolf to Stapledon found in his papers at the University of Liverpool and not included in her Collected Letters. In her letters, Woolf praises Stapledon’s work, particularly the novel Star Maker, which he sent Woolf.

Of Star Maker, Woolf wrote: “sometimes it seems to me that you are grasping ideas that I have tried to express, much more fumblingly, in fiction.”

Robinson says Stapledon’s 1937 novel influenced Woolf’s Between the Acts. She describes the novel as ending “with Stapledonian imagery,” and writes that its final pages are “a kind of science fiction.”

After reading Patrick A. McCarthy’s introduction to Star Maker on Google Books, I am intrigued enough to read some Stapledon on my own.

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to the lighthouseVirginia Woolf spent nearly a month working on the first draft of the “Time Passes” section of To the Lighthouse. Now a new and wonderful Web site gives anyone with a Web  connection the opportunity to discover how that passage developed from first draft to first British and U.S. editions.

Called Woolf Online, it is a remarkable piece of scholarship melded with technological know-how. It includes holographs, printer proofs, images of the front pages of newspapers published during the time Woolf was writing the novel, images of St. Ives during the early 20th century and much more.

Take some time to explore the site. Then bookmark it. I guarantee you will want to go back.

According to the site, the initial idea and overall organization of the project was the work of Julia Briggs (1943-2007), in whose memory it has been completed by a team of exceptional individuals.

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