Posts Tagged ‘Bloomsbury’

Charleston is coming to Lewes, Sussex.

In September, the venerable location of Bloomsbury in the country will open a new venue in the former district council offices in Southover Road in Lewes that will feature a shop, a pop-up café pop-up café operated by Lewes-based Caccia & Tails, and a free program of co-produced community projects, artist-led workshops, gallery activities, and a learning program.

Charleston, 2019

The effort is the first step in bringing 100 of the most important Bloomsbury works back to Sussex and providing a growing Bloomsbury archive in a central location that is accessible to researchers and visitors.

Two free exhibitions will be featured during the venue’s first season, which will run Sept. 13 through Jan. 7, 2024:

Transforming the cultural life of Lewes

Here is what Nathaniel Hepburn, director of Charleston, has to say about the project:

“Since Charleston reopened after the pandemic, we have been working in partnership with the council and community groups in Lewes to develop a bold and ambitious vision which could transform the cultural life of Lewes and replicate the ‘Rodin effect’ from 1999 when Tate lent the famous Kiss sculpture to the town.

“It is exciting to be able to announce plans to launch this space in time for a major cultural season happening across Sussex to coincide with the largest contemporary art prize in the world – Turner Prize – being hosted in Eastbourne. It’s a great moment to put Lewes on the map as an important part of the region’s cultural offer.”

According to the Charleston website:

It is not a new idea for the Bloomsbury group to explore creating a cultural centre in Lewes. During the Second World War, the economist John Maynard Keynes, alongside Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, worked on a project for the precursor of the Arts Council, making designs for a theatre and art gallery – with a café – for small towns across the country, using Lewes as a model.

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New issue of Woolf Studies Annual now out

The most recent volume of Woolf Studies Annual, No. 29 (2023), edited by Benjamin Hagen, president of the International Virginia Woolf Society, is now available.

To purchase the journal, follow this link and click “Add to Cart.” At checkout, enter the discount code WSA2023 for 20% off. You do not have to create an account in order to make a purchase.

This issue features the research of Celia R. Caputi, Danielle N. Gilman, Lingxiang Ke, John Pedro Schwartz, and Kathryn Van Wert.

In addition to several new book reviews, Part 2 of the WSA Index, and an updated guide to scholarly collections, the volume also includes a forum on Mark Hussey’s 2021 biography of Clive Bell.

Contributors to the forum include Elizabeth Berkowitz, Claire Davison, Diane Gillespie, Maggie Humm, Christopher Reed, and Mark Hussey (in response).

Woolf Studies Annual is a refereed journal publishing substantial new scholarship on the work of Woolf and her milieu. Each volume includes several articles, reviews of new books, and an up-to-date guide to library special collections of interest to researchers. The Annual also occasionally features edited transcriptions of previously unpublished manuscripts.

Shakespeare in Bloomsbury coming next month

Yale University Press will publish Marjorie Garber’s new book Shakespeare in Bloomsbury in September. It’s billed as “The untold story of Shakespeare’s profound influence on Virginia Woolf and the rest of the Bloomsbury Group.”

Garber is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Research Professor of English and Visual and Environmental Studies, emerita, at Harvard University.

She is the author of several books on Shakespeare, as well as of books on cultural topics ranging from dogs and real estate to bisexuality and cross-dressing. Her most recent book is Character: The History of a Cultural Obsession.

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Shopping online for books devoted to Virginia Woolf, the Bloomsbury group, and the Hogarth Press? I have two sources for you. One, I have written about before. The other is new to me, although its proprietor is not.

York Harbor Books

Jon and Margaret Richardson are not newcomers to the world of Woolf. They have made hunting down the works of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group their mission since opening York Harbor Books in Maine more than 25 years ago.

The shop does not have its own website, but you can search the Jon S. Richardson Rare Books offerings on AbeBooks. You can also reach the shop at yorkharborbooks@aol.com or at 207-752-1569.

The Richardson duo put out a list of “Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group” offerings each summer. This August’s list includes 27 pages of items, including the following:

  • First edition of Virginia’s The Common Reader (1925) with the Vanessa Bell cover,
  • Signed copy of the first American edition of Leonard’s Downhill All the Way, An Autobiography of the Years 1919-1939 (1967),
  • Julie Singleton’s A History of Monks House and Village of Rodmell, Sussex Home of Leonard and Virginia Woolf (2008) from Cecil Woolf Publishers,
  • First edition of Vita Sackville-West’s Passenger to Teheran (1926),
  • Very scarce first edition of David Garnett’s Never Be a Bookseller (1929).

Second Wind Books

Second Wind Books is the brainchild of Leslie Arthur, who is also not a newcomer to the world of Woolf. Leslie and I met at past Woolf conferences when she was in the midst of learning the craft of bookselling at the William Reese Co.

She now has an online shop of her own. Recently she has been “off buying new stock and furiously cataloguing it” and attending a rare books seminar in Minnesota and Rare Books School in California, according to emails to Blogging Woolf that announce her new site.

Current finds listed in such categories as Bloomsbury, the Hogarth Press and more, include the following:

  • First edition of A Writer’s Diary (1955) with Vanessa Bell dust jacket,
  • First edition of The Years (1937) with Vanessa Bell dust cover,
  • First edition of The Common Reader Second Series (1935),
  • First edition of Jacob’s Room (1922),
  • First edition of The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (1942).

Some featured items on the Second Wind Books website

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Last week, we brought you news of a Virginia Woolf exhibit in New York City. This week, we bring you news of the arrival of a Woolf and Bloomsbury exhibit in Rome.

The exhibit, “Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury: Inventing Life,” opened in Rome Oct. 26 and will be at the National Roman Museum Palazzo Altemps through Feb. 12, 2023.

The exhibit is housed in five rooms of the Palazzo Altemps, each corresponding to a different section. It begins with a space dedicated to the meetings of Woolf and the Bloomsbury group at 46 Gordon Square in the Bloomsbury district of London, where Virginia and Vanessa Stephen met with group members such as John Maynard Keynes and Duncan Grant. Other spaces in the exhibit reconstruct the history of the Hogarth Press and recall the six years of the Omega Workshop.

Edited by Woolf scholar Nadia Fusini in collaboration with playwright and performance artist Luca Scarlini, the exhibit is a project of the National Roman Museum and the Electa publishing house, created in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery in London and with the support of the Italian Virginia Woolf Society., which also sponsored an all-night reading of Woolf on Nov. 5.

The Palazzo Altemps is a fitting choice for the exhibit, as it once hosted a library collected between the end of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as well as prestigious nineteenth century literary salons.

Tickets for the exhibit can be purchased online.

Above: the exhibition catalog published by Electa, which is constructed as an intimate diary, a notebook of notes and memories.

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Bloomsbury Books is a quiet, dusty, tradition-bound London bookstore that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men. But in 1950, it’s a new world, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans.

This is from the dustcover promo in my serendipitous sale table acquisition, Bloomsbury Girls, a recently published novel by Natalie Jenner, author of the international best-seller The Jane Austen Society.

My first reaction was to cringe at the title, but it’s true, we were all still girls, regardless of age, in 1950. The novel is a coming-into-their-own story about three women challenging the set-in-stone hierarchy at a fictional bookstore in Bloomsbury.

Real-life personages—Daphne du Maurier, Peggy Guggenheim, Samuel Beckett—appear as characters in the novel, but you can’t be in a Bloomsbury bookshop without the spiritual presence of and references to Virginia Woolf.

When Vivien is named acting manager during a temporary shake-up, the first thing she does is create a prominent display of classic women authors. Woolf, she observes, is “the only woman whom the male stiff did not seem to mind taking up valuable shelf space,” but she moves them all front and center:

Anne Bronte would gain her rightful place next to her sisters, Katherine Mansfield would join her longtime pen pal Virginia Woolf, and Elizabeth Gaskell would emerge from the Victorian shadow of Dickens, Thackeray, and Trollope.

Vivien is a closeted writer, too. After one of her stories is plagiarized by a male colleague, she expresses her frustration to a friend in Queen Square, near the store. Returning to the shop,

she knew she was angrily stomping the very ground where T.S. Eliot had worked as an editor, Virginia Woolf had drawn inspiration for her novel Night and Day, and Thackeray had set his earliest chapters in Vanity Fair.

Evie, doing research in the store’s archives, rues the many lost and forgotten books and wants to reprint the important ones: “Typeset and print it, just like Virginia Woolf ‘n’ her husband did … with a handpress, in her drawing room!”

Light and just a bit frothy, but entertaining. Woolfians could do worse than transplant ourselves to an earlier time in a Bloomsbury square.


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