Posts Tagged ‘The Spoken Word: The Bloomsbury Group’

Like many of you, I have shelves full of books at home that I have not yet read. Some have been in my possession for decades, some for years or months.

Now I am starting to stockpile DVDs and CDs as well. I am embarassed to say that among the latter is the recent release from the BBC of “The Spoken Word: The Bloomsbury Group.”

This two-disc set, which features voices of Bloomsbury that have long remained unheard, has been sitting on my shelf for months. And I have yet to peel off the cellophane.

But after reading the details on the Mantex Web site, I expect I will soon pop one in my CD player.

According to Roy Johnson, here are some of the treats that await those who own the set, which comes with a 16-page explanatory booklet:

  • Leonard Woolf with a Who’s Who of the Bloomsbury Group
  • Duncan Grant talking about the infamous Dreadnought Hoax
  • Frances Partridge speaking about the group’s broad influence
  • David Cecil detailing Virginia’s appearance and Quentin Bell describing her fashions
  • Angelica Garnett on various attitudes towards members of the Group
  • Vita Sackville-West talking about the inspiration behind Virginia Woolf’s Orlando
  • Benedict Nicholson remembering Virginia Woolf’s visits to Sissinghurst
  • Elizabeth Bowen recalling Bloomsbury parties and Virginia’s antics
  • Ralph Partridge reminiscing about time spent with Leonard and Virginia Woolf
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    9780712305938Last night I spoke about walking in Virginia Woolf’s footsteps when I traveled to England several years ago. The occasion was a meeting of the Medina County Branch of AAUW.

    As I talked about the sights and sounds of London, Sussex, Kent and Cornwall that connect to Virginia’s life and work, several thoughts struck me.

    Since AAUW is an organization that promotes equity for women in girls in both the workplace and in educational settings, I felt compelled to remark on Virginia’s lack of opportunity for formal education.

    And since I spoke about meeting Cecil Woolf and Dr. Ruth Gruber at Woolf conferences — two people who had known or met Virginia — I got to thinking about how special it is to have seen and heard her in person.

    Those experiences are impossible for us today. But a two-disc CD set from the British Library allows us to experience Virginia and other members of the Bloomsbury group in another way.

    The Spoken Word: The Bloomsbury Group” came out this month. Producers searched  the BBC archives to present 24 recordings of the group’s major figures talking in their own words. Many of them are rare and previously unreleased.

    According to the London Review Bookshop‘s Web site, “Highlights include Virginia Woolf talking about the importance of language, Leonard Woolf’s who’s who of the Bloomsburys, Duncan Grant discussing the infamous ‘Dreadnought’ hoax and Elizabeth Bowen describing legendary Bloomsbury parties.” You can get the full list here.

    Woolf’s voice, along with those of other great writers of the 20th century, can also be heard on a three-disc set of CDs produced by the British Library called “The Spoken Word: British Writers.” Read more.

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