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Posts Tagged ‘Mrs. Dalloway’

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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A couple of months ago I posted a Woolf sighting on Jenny Offill’s Weather (which I just read for the second time). I’m happy to see that the book is on the shortlist for the UK’s Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Here, the six shortlisted authors recommend novels that have been meaningful to them–all of them worth noting–and Jenny Offill has chosen Mrs. Dalloway. 

Besides Offill, the 2020 shortlist features Angie Cruz, Bernardine Evaristo, Natalie Haynes, Hilary Mantel, and Maggie O’Farrell.

And so I picked up Mrs Dalloway and was thrilled by its subversive swings from the trivial to the sublime and back again. I also found in it a model for the novel I hoped to one day write. Her [Virginia Woolf’s] elaborate, far-reaching sentences were very different from my own but her insistence on the importance of recording the modest, the quiet, the almost unseen moments of life was a revelation and continues to be. – Jenny Offill on Mrs. Dalloway

 

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Two years ago, when the third Wednesday in June was officially chosen as #DallowayDay, no one would have imagined that a worldwide pandemic would force us to devise or search out virtual or individual events to celebrate the fine day in June when Clarissa Dalloway went walking through London to “buy the flowers herself.”

But that is what has happened. And here are some of the events available tomorrow, Wednesday, June 17, on #DallowayDay2020, as we celebrate Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel, Mrs. Dalloway.

  • The Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain wants Virginia Woolf readers to send them photos of how YOU are celebrating #DallowayDay or Virginia Woolf’s work this month. Send them to Sarah M. Hall at smhall123@yahoo.co.uk with a line or two of description. The society may put them on the VWSGB website or Facebook page, but you can let them know if they are for the society’s eyes only.
  • View “A Moment in the Life of Virginia Woolf,” a virtual art exhibition online June 17. All works are for sale. There is also an illustrated pamphlet, ‘A Moment in the Life of Virginia Woolf: A Lighthouse Shone in Tavistock Square’, which uses Virginia Woolf’s own words from letters, diaries and excerpts from the novel. And you can view a video of the project.
  • The Royal Society of Literature has a full slate of virtual events for Dalloway Day.
    • It has joined with Literary Hub, whose managing editor Emily Temple will host a Zoom-based book group on the novel tomorrow. The event is sold out, but you can sign up to be placed on a waiting list.
    • Another RSL remote event, in partnership with Charleston, is “The Common Reader in Uncommon Times” June 17 at 6:30 p.m. BST.
    • A third RSL remote event is “The Pleasure of the Everyday” June 17 at 8 p.m. BST.
  • “For it was the middle of June,” a Dalloway Day blog post from the British Library.
  • If you are near London, the VWSGB also offers its Mrs. Dalloway Walk in London, from Dean’s Yard, Westminster, to Regent’s Park. According to the society, this walk combines Mrs Dalloway’s journey, from her house to Bond Street where she buys the flowers and hears the car backfire, with Rezia’s and Septimus’s (they also hear the car at the same time) from Bond Street to Regent’s Park. (Please note: You may find that certain locations on the walk are inaccessible during lockdown.)
  • Listen to a discussion of Woolf’s novel on BBC Radio 4.
  • Listen to “Queer Bloomsbury, Stillness in art and dance” on BBC Radio 3 June 17 at 10 p.m.
  • Watch an 18-minute video provided by the British Library in which Elaine Showalter explores modernity, consciousness, gender, and time in the novel. On the British Library site, you can also view Woolf’s drafts of some pages of the novel.

And if you understand Italian, you can follow along with the DallowayDay 2020 video from the Italian Virginia Woolf Society.

 

 

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Today, no matter where we live in the world, we are feeling the effects of the coronavirus Viral Modernismpandemic. Events are cancelled or postponed and travel is curtailed. We are told to stay home and only go out when necessary, maintaining physical distancing when we venture outside to buy groceries or medicine or get some much-needed exercise.

Virginia and Leonard Woolf lived through the pandemic of their time, the Spanish flu, which raged worldwide from 1918-1919, while the couple were living in Richmond.

Estimated to have killed 100 million people around the globe and more than 250,000 in Britain alone, the Spanish flu also affected people close to the Woolfs. In July 1918 diary entries, Virginia notes that their London neighbor has influenza, later reporting that she has succumbed to the disease.

Virginia and influenza

Virginia herself contracted influenza at the end of 1919, confining her to her bed, and that episode is thought to be part of the pandemic strain. It was not her first bout with the flu; nor would it be her last. She suffered from it in 1916, in the early months of 1918 before the Spanish flu had reached Britain, and again in 1922, 1923, and 1925.

On Oct. 20 of 1918, Woolf’s diary entry includes this report:

Pain is abhorrent to all Stracheys, but making all allowances for the exaggerations and terrors of the poor creature, Lytton has had a sufficient dose of horror, I imagine, and the doctor privately warns Carrington that shingles may last months. However, Lytton, is probably… avoiding London, because of the influenza (we are, by the way, in the midst of a plague unmatched since The Black Death, according to the Times, who seem to tremble lest it may seize upon Lord Northcliffe & thus precipitate us into peace.)

Illness in the essay

Virginia’s experiences with illness led her to write the essay On Being Ill, published in 1930 by the Hogarth Press. And now that our own pandemic has taken center stage worldwide, some scholars are writing about how past epidemics have been described in literature, film, and the arts.

One such piece by Laura Cernat centers on Woolf’s essay. And Ane Thon Knutsen, a Norwegian typesetter and Woolf scholar, is in the midst of an art project focused on the work. But more on that later.

Illness in the novel

The 1918 pandemic also made its way into one of Virginia’s most famous novels — Mrs. Dalloway (1925) — but that fact often attracts minimal notice. When it comes to debilitating health conditions in that novel, the shell shock of Septimus Smith gets most of the attention from critics and readers. However, in Viral Modernism, the Influenza Pandemic and Interwar Literature, Elizabeth Outka argues that Woolf has centered the novel on influenza and presents Clarissa Dalloway as a pandemic survivor.

A post on the British Library website takes a similar tack and includes a quote from the novel.

“Clarissa is almost certainly a victim of the influenza pandemic of 1918–20, but she is also to be one of the novel’s lingering wraiths: ‘Since her illness she had turned almost white’ (31).

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A new exhibit, “Virginia Woolf Was Here: Mapping Mrs. Dalloway,” will be on display at Amarillo College’s Southern Light Gallery in Amarillo, Texas through April 1.

Adriane Little shares the process she used to create “Virginia Woolf Was Here: Short Stories” as part of her presentation at the 28th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf at the University of Kent in Canterbury in 2018.

The photographic retracing of Mrs. Dalloway’s walk through London is the work of Adriane Little, a lens-based conceptual artist and educator from Kalamazoo, Mich., who has presented her work at recent Annual International Conferences on Virginia Woolf. That includes her 2018 presentation on  “Virginia Woolf Was Here: Altered Books” in which she combined Woolf’s words with water from Woolf sites.

About “Mapping Mrs. Dalloway”

“I walked the streets of London and photographed along the path that Mrs. Dalloway walks in the novel. These are the same streets that Woolf herself walked countless times,” Little said in a news story at Myghighplains.com.

She said her “intention was not to illustrate the novel, but instead to use stream of consciousness in capturing the images. This mirrors the literary strategy of the novel.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public.

More mapping

Little, on Instagram as @adriane.jpeg, is not the only one to map out Clarissa’s path in the novel.

In 2011, a group of scholars devised the Mrs. Dalloway Mapping Project, a series of interactive, annotated maps of London that serve as a guide to the novel. The  maps show the paths that Clarissa, Peter and Rezia and Septimus follow over the course of the novel. The project is the creation of Adam Erwood, London Lamb, Jasmine Perrett, Anjaly Poruthoor and Manoj Vangala for an English class at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

This Map of Fictional London is available from the Literary Gift Company

 

 

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