Posts Tagged ‘Woolf in Winter’

I had the best of intentions, but I didn’t give myself enough time. That is why I have not finished my re-read of Virginia Woolf’s The Waves.

As a result, I won’t be able to plunge into the Woolf in Winter discussion of the novel led by Clare on Kiss a Cloud. But I can stick my toe in the water. So here it goes.

During the past few days, I worked my way through the early years of Woolf’s six characters: Jinny, Susan, Rhoda, Neville, Bernard and Louis.

When I left them last night, all six were on their way home from boarding school for the summer holiday. Each was looking forward to something different. Susan was longing to be back in the country. Jinny was picturing herself as an independent young woman. Louis fancied himself a poet. And so on.

What struck me so far was how beautifully and accurately Woolf captured the minds and moods of children on their way to being grown-ups. The innocence, the complications, the wretched insecurities, the brave dreams, the pleasures and the pains of childhood can all be found in Woolf’s poetic words.

In the novel, Woolf outlines each character. Then she fills in the details in the same way that the pointillist painting provided by Kiss a Cloud does.

From a distance, the dots in a pointillist painting may seem alike. But up close, each one is different. In a similar way, young children may seem alike from a distance. But up close, each one is unique.

Woolf looks at her six children up close. She bends her knees to look at the world from their perspective. She tells their six stories from the shifting vantage points of children on their way to adulthood. She understands the way they think and feel.

What I take away from these first few chapters of The Waves is that despite her own childlessness, Woolf got kids in a way that few adults do. That’s just one more thing to like about her.

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When I first read about Woolf in Winter, I planned to reread all four novels and participate in all the discussions. I regret that I have failed in my mission.

If you are in the same predicament, links to the online discussions we missed are below.

But please note that we still have a chance to redeem ourselves — albeit with one of the most challenging of Virginia Woolf’s novels, The Waves. The online discussion begins a week from today, on Friday, Feb. 23. You can join Clare and other Woolf readers at Kiss a Cloud.

I plan to put Simone de Beauvoir’s The Mandarins aside for the moment and ride The Waves for the next week. Won’t you join us?

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Today is the day for the Woolf in Winter online discussion of Mrs. Dalloway. To join it, subscribe to the comment feed for the original invitation post: “Woolf in Winter: An Invitation.”

  • To find out more about the upcoming discussions on three other novels, go here. The discussions will be led by the four bloggers, SarahEmilyFrances and Claire, who came up with the plan.
  • Read thoughts on Mrs. Dalloway at “Nonsuch Books.”
  • “Lakeside Musing” has already posted her wintertime thoughts about reading MD. She says it is a novel that improves with age — the age of the reader.
  • Another blogger–and an English professor to boot–shares her experience of falling under the spell of Woolf’s words after struggling with “how to read” MD. Rohan Maitzen blogs about her reading experiences on Novel Readings.
  • To find out what some first-time readers of Woolf have already had to say about Mrs. D, go to this post at “another cookie crumbles,” the blog of a 23-year-old book lover living in London.
  • To read William Patrick Wend’s thoughts about the novel in an intertextual context, read his essay, “The Intertextual World of Mrs. Dalloway” on Blogging Woolf.

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Friday is the day. Get ready to join the “Woolf in Winter” online discussion of Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel, Mrs. Dalloway.

Four bloggers, SarahEmilyFrances and Claire, have extended an open invitation to join them in a wintertime group read and online discussion of four Virginia Woolf novels in two months.

The conversation about Mrs. Dalloway, led by Sarah, begins Friday, Jan. 15. Dozens of bloggers have already signed on to participate. You can, too. Just subscribe to the comment feed for the original invitation post: “Woolf in Winter: An Invitation.”

Here’s the schedule for the other three “Woolf in Winter” conversations:

  • Jan. 29: Conversation about  To the Lighthouse, led by Emily.
  • Feb. 12: Conversation about Orlando, led by Frances.
  • Feb. 26: Conversation about The Waves, led by Claire.

Read more about the plan on the Nonsuch Book blog under the heading ”Woolf in Winter: The Conversation Starts Soon.”

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