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An essay by Blogging Woolf contributor Alice Woolf published May 19 on (mac)ro(mic) discusses a dreaded topic — aging — and includes the views of Dorothy Parker and Virginia Woolf.

Alice Lowe

Woolf used to address her future self—old Virginia—in her diary; days before her death she reminded herself to “observe the oncome of age. — Lowe

Lowe has written about Woolf and aging before. In 2017 she connected Woolf with aging, writing, and her own decision to get a tattoo.

Besides writing for Blogging Woolf, Lowe blogs at aliceloweblogs.wordpress.com. Her flash prose has appeared this past year in Hobart, JMWW, Door Is a Jar, Sleet, Anti-Heroin Chic, and BurningWord. She’s had citations in Best American Essays and nominations for Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net.

 

At a time when inaccurate information spreads like wildfire via social media, it’s refreshing to learn that a major media outlet is interested in fact checking something as seemingly minor as a literary quote, particularly one attributed to Virginia Woolf.

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life” was the quote attributed to Woolf and shared more than 300 times by a Facebook group called “English literature and Linguistics.”

USA TODAY on the hunt

Then USA TODAY noticed. And reporter Rick Rouan, based in Columbus, Ohio, started checking into it. On his own, he was unable to find a record of Woolf saying or writing those words.

So he contacted a couple of folks in the Woolf community, including Blogging Woolf and Benjamin Hagen, assistant professor of English at the University of South Dakota who is heading up this year’s Woolf conference and serves as president of the International Virginia Woolf Society.

Woolfians join the search

I searched my copy of Major Authors on CD-ROM: Virginia Woolf and found no such statement in Woolf’s work. But Hagen traced it to the 2002 film “The Hours,” which is based on Michael Cunningham’s novel of the same title, inspired by Woolf’s 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway.

The Facebook group that posted the quote Rouan investigated has apparently removed it from its page. Fact-checking information shared online is something USA TODAY does regularly, Rouan told me.

Read more about the hunt for the quote and its origins in “Fact check: Quote attributed to Virginia Woolf was in a movie, not her primary work.”

A collection of memes found in a Google search that include the quote falsely attributed to Woolf

Want to own a bookstore named after Virginia Woolf’s most famous character? You can. The award-wining Mrs. Dalloway bookstore in Berkeley, Calif., is up for sale.

We first heard of the shop in September 2014, when we made reference to a blurb about its Woolf connections and its book recommendations. Now, after 17 years in business, the two owners of the shop named after Woolf’s 1925 novel have listed it for sale.

About the shop

Set in the center of Berkeley’s Elmwood shopping district on College Avenue, the shop expanded in 2009, nearly doubling its space while other stores were facing challenges.

According to the shop’s website, it was then able to create “a vibrant events program with readings from leading novelists, poets, biographers and garden writers from not only the Bay Area but all over the United States and beyond, about 100 per year.”

Read more in the Berkeleyside.

Calling potential buyers

If you or someone you know might be interested in buying Mrs. Dalloway’s and carrying on its proud tradition, you can visit the shop’s website and click on the Buyers Guide for information on submitting a proposal. Owners Marion Abbott and Ann Leyhe hope to accomplish the sale by this fall. You can reach the shop at sale@mrsdalloways.com.

Starting yesterday and continuing through May 28, Berkeley Rep is presenting an ambitious new work: “The Waves in Quarantine,” free and online.

The project, based on Virginia Woolf’s 1931 poetic novel, The Waves, consists of six short films that meditate on friendship, loss, and the making of art in this world-changing year.

According to the performance website, the work includes “dazzling choral music, text from the novel itself, exquisite visual imagery, and access behind the scenes as these artists imagine, question, explore and experiment.”

While this online event is free, an RSVP is required at this link.

Literature Cambridge will finish its first Woolf Season with the last of Virginia Woolf’s major books.

Here is what remains on the schedule:

• Anna Snaith on The Years (1937), Sun. 2 May, 6 p.m.
• Claire Davison on Three Guineas (1938), Sat. 8 May, 6 p.m.
• Claire Nicholson on Between the Acts (1941): Costume, Sat. 29 May, 6 p.m.
• Karina Jukobowicz on Between the Acts (1941): Dispersed Are We, Sat. 5 June, 10 a.m.

Two repeats

And, in case you missed them, two earlier lectures will be repeated:

• Claudia Tobin, Art in To the Lighthouse (1927), Sun. 16 May, 6 p.m.
• Emma Sutton and Jeremy Thurlow, Music in The Waves (1931), Sun. 30 May, 6 p.m.

All sessions are live on Zoom. All times are British Summer Time. Sessions can be booked online.

Trudi Tate and Karina Jacubowicz are just two of the lecturers in the Literature Cambridge’s online courses on Virginia Woolf via Zoom.

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