Posts Tagged ‘Bonnie Kime Scott’

I’ve never had the opportunity to study Woolf in the classroom, and I only find myself in the company of other Woolfians at the annual conference.

So when Bonnie Kime Scott invited me to sit in on her graduate seminar at San Diego State University, I jumped at the opportunity.

The curriculum includes all of the novels except Night and Day and The Years, plus selected stories, essays and diary entries. The students—mostly graduate students in literature and a couple from women’s studies—are required to write reaction papers to their reading plus do class presentations, a book report and a final paper.

As a class auditor, 20-plus years out of graduate school, I’m just challenged trying to keep up with the reading. Over the years I’ve read the novels two or three times each, all of the diaries and letters, and continue to burrow through the essays, a seemingly endless project.

But my Woolf reading has, until now, been in bite-sized pieces, digesting it at my leisure, swishing passages around to savor the flavor. Now I have to wolf it down, consuming large portions at every sitting, to keep up in order to follow the discussions.

And what a feast! I find this immersion a fascinating experience. The arc of her writing is more evident, transitions from one work to another more apparent; I feel that I have a better sense of her goals and her pursuit of them. And we’re only half-way through the semester, having just completed Mrs. Dalloway and preparing for To the Lighthouse next week.

The greatest pleasure is the class discussions, the luxury of delving into the works as a group. Most of the students are new to Woolf, but they’re intelligent, thoughtful, and game—they’re coming up with interesting interpretations, asking challenging questions and bringing a freshness to it that I find so welcome.

It isn’t about whether or not I agree, but rather opening up my thinking and confronting the material with new eyes, coming away with food for thought every week.

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Woolf scholars are invited to submit a panel topic for next year’s MLA conference, which will be held in Philadelphia Dec. 27-30.

According to the International Virginia Woolf Society Newsletter, this is a call for whole panels, not individual paper proposals. Voting on proposals will be completed by Dec. 30 to meet MLA guidelines.

Please submit only one panel topic, along with the following information:

  • A 35-word description (The word count must include the title.)
  • The name(s) and contact information of the proposed organizer(s) — e-mail, snail mail, preferred telephone number, institutional affiliation, if any.
  • Deadline by which the organizer(s) wish to receive submissions (usually March 15).
  • The format for submissions (500-word abstract? full-length paper?).

Submit to Bonnie Kime Scott, president of the IVWS, electronically or by snail mail by Nov. 20. Electronic submissions are strongly preferred.

Submit by e-mail to:

Electronic submissions are strongly preferred and should carry the subject line Woolf MLA 09.

Submit by snail mail to:

Bonnie Kime Scott
President, IVWS
Dept. of Women’s Studies
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-6030

For more information about the International Virginia Woolf Society’s involvement in MLA conferences and this year’s Woolf panel topics, click here or here.

To propose your own special session for next year’s MLA Conference, go to the MLA Web site for instructions. 

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