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What happens when a novelist and a scholar get together to discuss Virginia Woolf? Interesting things, as you will see below. But first the back story

The back story

Last week, a Zoom call for members of the International Virginia Woolf Society introduced us to the The Oxford Companion of Virginia Woolf (2021), edited by Anne Fernald and published by the Oxford University Press.

On that call, we met many of the prominent international scholars who contributed the 39 original essays that appear in the volume. They include Urmila Seshagiri, Elsa Högberg, Vara Neverow, Elizabeth Outka, and Roxana Robinson, whose novel Sparta (2013) I used in a class I taught on women and war.

The YouTube video

During the discussion about the handbook, Fernald mentioned an April 5 discussion she had with Robinson about Virginia Woolf, which is now posted on YouTube.

In it they talk about many things, including how they first met Virginia Woolf, what she has to say to us today, and Fernald’s vision for the essays she included in The Oxford Companion of Virginia Woolf.

As she puts it, “I wanted to make a new pattern for what we know about Woolf’s life.”

Fernald is a professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Issues at Fordham University, editor of the Cambridge University Press edition of Mrs. Dalloway (2014) and author of Virginia Woolf: Feminism and the Reader (2006).

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For anyone who reads and loves Virginia Woolf, St. Ives is a magical place. Take a trip back in time by viewing old footage of that Cornish town.
  • From the BBC iPlayer comes “Cornwall: This Fishing Life,” with series 2, episode 4, focusing on St. Ives. It includes old black and white film footage of the place where Woolf and the Stephen family spent their summers until she was 12.
  • Nineteen seconds of color film footage of St. Ives from Claude Friese-Greene’s The Open Road (1926) a fascinating social record of inter-war Britain. The St. Ives snippet below is available on the British Film Industry‘s YouTube Channel.
  • And just for fun, check out the video below of a model railroad version of St. Ives, circa the 1950s, created by a former St. Ives resident. In this eight-minute video, he adds his own memories, along with details about constructing the layout. Stuart Clarke of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain shared this video and notes that we “may” be able to see Talland House at the 4-minute, 32-second mark.

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I just stumbled across a saved email from two years ago that included a link to a 16-minute YouTube video that provides a photographic timeline of Virginia Woolf’s many looks, from youth to adult, from formal to playful.

The music accompanying the timeline, which I am belatedly sharing, is by Philip Glass, who also composed the music for the 2002 film “The Hours.”

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Teaching Virginia Woolf online this fall? If so, these YouTube videos focused on her life and her work may help. Take a look.

Virginia Woolf and Mrs. Dalloway

This is a nearly one-hour 1987 dramatized documentary on the novel, with an introduction by Woolf biographer Hermione Lee.

The Mind and Times of Virginia Woolf

This is an approximately 25-minute triptych featuring (among others) Hermione Lee, Eileen Atkins, Nigel Nicolson and Frances Spalding.



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Available on YouTube from now until July 10 is the Royal Ballet’s performance of Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works, a triptych created in 2015.

Featuring music by Max Richter, the ballet received critical acclaim, winning McGregor the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Classical Choreography and the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production.

Inspired by the writings of Virginia Woolf, Woolf Works is based on three of Woolf’s novels: Mrs Dalloway, Orlando and The Waves and weaves in elements from her letters, essays and diaries. the ballet looks at both her life and her work.

 

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