Posts Tagged ‘books’

Virginia Woolf wrote hundreds of essays during her lifetime. The total varies from “nearly 600” (Fernald 160) to “640,” (Rigel Daughtery 9) so it can be difficult to locate just the right essay when needed. For that reason,  sometimes a slim collection of Virginia Woolf essays that focus on a specific topic is just the thing.

Here are two.

On freedom

The first is part of a 27-volume Vintage Mini collection, a Vintage Classic published by Penguin/Random House. Titled Liberty, it includes selections from A Room of One’s Own (1929), The Waves (1931), and the essays “Street Haunting” and “How Should One Read a Book.”

Here begins the freedom of the mind, or rather the possibility that in the course of time the mind will be free to write what it likes – jacket quote from Liberty (2018)

On the visual arts

The second is the twentieth volume in the ekphrasis series published by David Zwirner Books in 2021 and is a collection of Woolf’s writings on the visual arts.

Titled Oh, to Be a Painter!, the volume begins with an introduction by Claudia Tobin and includes Woolf’s longest essay on painting, “Walter Sickert: A Conversation” (1934), alongside shorter essays and reviews, including “Pictures and Portraits” (1920) and “Pictures” (1925).


Fernald, Anne E. “A Feminist Public Sphere? Virginia Woolf’s Revisions of the Eighteenth Century.” Feminist Studies 31:1 (2005): 158-182.

Daugherty, Beth Rigel. “The Transatlantic Virginia Woolf: Essaying an American Audience.” Virginia Woolf Miscellany 76 (2009): 9-11.


Read Full Post »

We all know the gender gap exists in the publishing world. For example, one study shows that books by female authors make up only a small percentage of collectible books priced at $500 or more. Nevertheless the work of Virginia Woolf is highly collectable. She is among the 10 most collectible female authors at AbeBooks.

Here is the list of the 10 most collectible female authors posted on the AbeBooks website:

  • Jane Austen
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Ayn Rand
  • Harper Lee
  • Agatha Christie
  • Mary Ann Evans/George Eliot
  • Beatrix Potte
  • Toni Morrison
  • Mary Shelley
  • J.K. Rowling

The data

AbeBooks.com analyzed a random sample of their sales for collectible books priced $500 or more. The company was dismayed to learn that only 4.8 percent of those books had been written by women.

“We had expected to see an imbalance but not one of such significance,” noted the website.

The reason for the imbalance is the long history of male privilege that gives men priority for the public sphere, including publishing, while women are relegated to the domestic sphere.

“There are simply fewer female authors of significance across the past 500 years of publishing. Many female writers wrote anonymously or privately published their work. Most simply did not even have the opportunity to become published authors,” according to AbeBooks.

Woolf broke the rules to become an important figure in modernist literature and feminism in general. Her novels –Mrs Dalloway(1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928) – are landmarks in 20th century literature. Her success is all the more remarkable since she struggled with mental illness for most of her lifeA Room of One’s Own (1929) might be her most important work, this essay argues that women writers need their own space in a literary world dominated by men. -AbeBooks

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »

Literary audiobook supplier Spiracle offers three of Virginia Woolf’s short works at no cost. You can listen to them at the links below.
  • The Mark on the Wall,” read by Saffron Coomber. First published in 1917 with Leonard Woolf’s story “Three Jews” in the collection Two Stories.
  • On Being Ill,” read by Saffron Coomber. First published in 1926 in magazines in both the UK and US. Four years later, the Hogarth Press published a slightly revised version as a stand-alone volume. It was the first volume the Woolfs hand set and printed in 11 years.
  • How It Strikes a Contemporary,” read by Diana Quick. First published in 1922 in The Times Literary Supplement. It was later published by the Hogarth Press in The Common Reader (1925).

Spiracle also offers five Woolf novels as audiobooks at prices ranging from £10-£15: The Voyage Out, Night and Day, Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, and To the Lighthouse.

Read Full Post »

Beth Rigel Daugherty is beloved in Virginia Woolf circles for both her scholarship and her down-to-earth approach to Woolf studies. Her latest book, Virginia Woolf’s Apprenticeship: Becoming an Essayist, out his month, is available at a 30 percent discount from the Edinburgh University Press. Just enter the code EVENT30 when you checkout and you can share her brilliance at a discount.

What’s in the book

  • The most comprehensive portrayal of Virginia Woolf’s education to date
  • Examination of the link between Virginia Stephen’s education and Virginia Woolf’s essays
  • A focus on Woolf’s nonfiction and her early work
  • Two holograph draft lectures by Virginia Stephen for the first time
  • A compilation and organization of archival material in appendices for future researchers.

According to the publisher:

This study takes up Woolf’s challenge to probe the relationship between education and work, specifically her education and her work as an essayist. It expands her education beyond her father’s library to include not only a broader examination of her homeschooling but also her teaching at Morley College and her early book reviewing. It places Virginia Stephen’s learning in the historical and cultural contexts of education for women, the working classes and writers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

About Beth Rigel Daugherty

Beth Rigel Daugherty (at far left), Leslie Hankins and Diane Gillespie presented a panel on “Portraying and Projecting Age, Ageism, and Activism” at the 19th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, with its theme of social justice, at the University of Mount Saint Joseph in Cincinnati in June of 2019.

Recently retired from Ohio’s Otterbein University, Beth Rigel Daugherty taught modernist English literature, Virginia Woolf and Appalachian and Native American literature along with many thematically focused writing courses, for 36 years.

Her plenary talk at the 31st Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, “On the Ethics of Teaching: Virginia Woolf’s Essays,” received accolades from everyone who heard it.

Beth fell in love with Virginia Woolf and her essays while at Rice University and has been presenting and publishing on both ever since. Her peer-reviewed articles have appeared in edited collections; editions of the “How Should Read a Book?” holograph draft and Woolf’s fan letters in Woolf Studies Annual; and, with Mary Beth Pringle, the Modern Language Association teaching volume on To the Lighthouse.

A review

Drawing on deep research into the social history of women’s lives and of education, Daugherty shows with superb attention to detail how Virginia Stephen’s early experiences of teaching and of being taught nourished the seeds that flowered as Virginia Woolf, “an essayist compelled to teach.” This is impeccable and important scholarship.

– Mark Hussey, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Pace University


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »